Music

Thom Yorke – The Eraser

A bit like a parent showing preferential treatment to their first-born The Bends had always been close to my heart.

Garden State

Garden State is the nickname for New Jersey, and is also the name of the directorial debut from Scrubs star Zach Braff.

Lemon Jelly – ’64-’95

If you’re wondering what the title means, it simply stems from the fact that each track is built around a single sample.

Izu – Going Salamander

Let's start with the good news. Litterball, Going Salamander's opener, has a Ken Ishii-like insistence and a bit-crushed chord riff to drive it along; the drum programming builds into taut little loops, and the various squirts, stabs and cut-ups which occur throughout keep up the pace and motion: it's a fun track. Jumpers is a slightly mellower take [...]

Worm is Green – Push Play

“We aren’t really walking on glaciers on an everyday basis,” remarked Arni Teitur Asgeirsson during one interview that occurred shortly after Worm is Green’s intoxicating Automagic was released. This was in response to the commonly held observation (including that of this writer) that the album’s atmospherics evoked the feeling of Iceland’s stunning landscape and its [...]

Pet Shop Boys – Fundamental

It feels like the Pet Shop Boys have always been here. Well in fact, that’s probably because for most of this reviewer’s lifetime they have been, since the duo formed in 1981. Regardless of whether you’re a fan or not, one can’t help be aware of the brilliant pop moments they’ve been responsible for over [...]

Bugz in the Attic – Back in the Doghouse

Well they’ve been together for 10 years now, but Back in the Doghouse is actually the first studio album from the famous West London supergroup of producers and remixers who’ve been pretty hard to ignore if you’ve got even a remote interest in the broken beat scene. They’ve produced countless well-known remixes of tracks by [...]

DJ Shadow – The Outsider

If you’re a fan of DJ Shadow, or more specifically, DJ Shadow’s music up to this point, then it’s very possible that you’re not going to like this album at first. In fact, it has to be said that you might actually really hate it. The Outsider isn’t just a musical about turn; it’s an [...]

John Smith – The Fox and the Monk

Having shared the live spotlight with the likes of John Martyn, Cara Dillon and Jools Holland, been a BBC Radio 2 'Artist of the Week', and one of the stand out acts at the recent 'In the City' music conference in Manchester, the spotlight falling on Liverpool based singer songwriter John Smith has never shone [...]

Manic Street Preachers – The Holy Bible

With Christmas 06 a distant memory, I thought it a good time to reflect on some of the numerous 'best of' albums that record companies release upon us on the run up to such 'would make a great gift' occasions. One of the years biggest sellers, and a bit of a landmark one at that, [...]

Chris Cornell – Carry On

Heralding from the delta scored shores of Seattle, Washington State, Cornell earned his rock wings as the gravelly voiced front-man of popular grunge band Soundgarden. After several years in the doldrums, the band shot to fame during the early 90's, riding the crest of a wave triggered by Nirvana and the emergence of the grunge [...]

The Cinematic Orchestra – Ma Fleur

The music of The Cinematic Orchestra has always been emotional, but to an extent that’s partly been because it sounds like a soundtrack to a film you’ve never seen (well, unless it’s Man With The Movie Camera, but I digress). You’re grafting on that resonance yourself as the evocative arrangements plant scenes in your mind. [...]

Jasmine Minks – I Heard ‘I Wish It Would Rain’ EP

The Jasmine Minks have always been an incredible band to come out of Creation Records. Their passion alone is enough to give them respect. Besides the passion, there is a love for music, a love for expression, and open minds. Their last LP Popartglory (released on Alan McGee's Poptones label) was modern indie-pop rock classic. [...]

Britta Phillips and Dean Wareham – L’Avventura

Special collaboration albums can either be classics or duds. Still, there is always something special about the spirit of special collaboration LPs. Even if they do not work well, they still can be appreciated. Dean Wareham, the lead singer/songwriter of Luna (and formally of Galaxie 500) teamed up with Britta Phillips (Luna’s bass player and [...]

Cherrywine – Bright Black

Ish (aka Butterfly) was always the most respected member (and leader) of the group Digable Planets. The early 90's single Cool Like That helped to make their debut LP Reachin (A New Refutation Of Time & Space) a major success that even won them a Grammy. With some criticism directed at them for being soft [...]

Blur – Think Tank

Blur is a band that has truly evolved in many unique ways. First, they were a somewhat groovy but loud pop band with extremely simple and repetitive hooks. The Leisure LP gave us the utterly simplistic pop songs There’s No Other Way, Bang, and She’s So High. The sophomore LP (Modern Life Is Rubbish) was [...]

Felt – A Declaration [DVD]

Felt has always been one of the most respected and most enigmatic bands in independent music. Lawrence, (originally Jon Lawrence, but he later dropped the Jon), had a plan to released 10 singles and 10 albums in 10 years, spanning the Eighties. In the early days, Felt released short, pop songs as singles and short [...]

The Beatifics – The Way We Never Were

I considered myself a lucky man when I found an incredible indie-pop album in world filled of horrible, plastic, pathetic, insipid music. Many of today’s popular guitar-driven bands just do not have the magic that music lovers need. Many music lovers miss that special feeling that we felt in pop bands like Television Personalities, Felt, [...]

Dudley Perkins [AKA Declaime] – A Lil Light

More and more it seems like rappers and emcees are changing their style and releasing albums filled with singing instead of rapping. While Lauryn Hill was one of the first to do this (and do it right), many others followed in her footsteps. Q-Tip, John Forte, Cee-Lo of Goodie Mob all began singing instead of [...]

Cody ChesnuTT – The Headphone Masterpiece

Some singers and artists just have a classic feel to their work. Cody ChesnuTT (with two capital Ts at the end of the last name) has the potential to be one of those artists that will be making incredible music for decades. This classic quality of his music is due to a mixture of his [...]

The Neptunes – Clones

Beats have always been a major aspect in hip-hop since they can make or break an album. While many lyrical emcees like Ras Kass, Canibus, and others have put out albums that lack in strong beats, other poor emcees have put out albums with incredible beats even though their lyrics and flows are horrible. The [...]

Guitar Vader – Dawn

Plenty has happened to Guitar Vader since their last long player "From Dusk". They've moved from Berry Records, their home since their early cassette-only days, and signed to Plugs House. Miki Tanabe (guitar and vocals) and Shozo Ujuan (bass and vocals) have now also been joined by a full-time drummer, Yoshifumi Suzuki, who has helped [...]

Worm is Green – Automagic

For a country with a population just shy of 300,000 people, Iceland has managed to produce a remarkable amount of world-class music, most of which defies expectations, being both accessible and innovative, but without compromise. The country is one of wide-open, other-worldly spaces, and of constant contrasts and surprises, where the sun never sets in [...]

Outkast (Big Boi/Andre 3000) – Speakerboxxx/The Love Below

Outkast are the most unique and most innovative force in hip-hop today. These two dope Atlanta boys who love Cadillacs started out with pimped out Southern hip-hop with their debut album 'Southernplayaliztikcadillacmuzik' but they slowly changed and evolved through each album. While 'ATliens' did show them pushing boundaries, it was not until the almost perfect [...]

The Dandy Warhols – Welcome to the Monkey House

The Dandy Warhols are making rock music cool again. Straight from Oregon, The Dandy Warhols first gained some popularity with their minor hit 'Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth' from their 'The Dandy Warhols Come Down' album, which also included the much-loved 'Boys Better'. Who can forget the hook 'Heroin is so [...]

Momus – Forbidden Software Timemachine

Momus, a Scot by the name of Nick Currie, has been one of Europe’s most creative, bizarre, and literate artists in the last two decades. He bounced from label to label. He was on Cherry Red, Creation Records, and eventually started his own labels Analog Baroque and American Patchwork. On Alan McGee’s magnificent independent Creation [...]

Black Box Recorder – Passionoia

Luke Haines has made some of the most beautiful British pop music to date, and at the same time, some of the most sinister. While Pulp's Jarvis Cocker was sleeping with other people’s wives and Momus was getting perverted, Luke Haines was writing about murder, terrorism, and the dark places in everyone’s mind. And even [...]

The Strokes – Room on Fire

Hype is a double edged sword and The Strokes know this better than anybody. In the last two years, many journalists claimed that The Strokes were the “saviors” of rock music. Their debut album “Is This It” was a loud, sloppy, very cool sounding affair. Tracks like “Last Night”, “Someday”, and “Hard To Explain” had [...]

Severed Heads – Robot Peepshow

Severed Heads has always been an electronic band that has used video as a major aspect of their art. Since the 80s, Severed Heads performed with live videos behind them: Tom Ellard performed all the vocals and electronic music and Stephen Jones performed the videos. Fast-forward to 2003, Severed Heads now only consists of Tom [...]

J-Live – Always Will Be

J-Live is an emcee's emcee. He can rock a mic, rock a crowd, and rock an album. Live, he performed the song 'Braggin Writes' while scratching the records on the turntables and rhyming at the same time. His debut album 'The Best Part' took a while to come out, but it was eventually released on [...]

Kelis – Tasty

Kelis first dazzled our ears (and our eyes) with her work on Noreaga's songs produced by The Neptunes, singing the hook on 'Hysteria (Cocaine Business)'. Eventually, she began to sing on many songs produced by The Neptunes. Even though her voice and style were unique, it was her loud and angry anthem for women who [...]

Marcel Donné – Sidologie

If you’re at all familiar with the work of Jean Michel Jarre, you might be forgiven for dismissing this CD as mere parody before you even bung it in the CD player—after all, the cover art comprises playful near-facsimiles of classic Jarre artwork. Thankfully, the music itself takes things rather more seriously. It was very [...]

Martin Galway – Project Galway

“One for the geeks” is what you initially think when presented with Project Galway. After all, who else would listen to a double CD collection of ‘remastered’ Commodore classics, unchanged from their original C64 incarnations? Yes, you heard right: while various C64 remix CDs carefully tread the line between out-and-out nostalgia and the repackaging and [...]

Various Artists – Remix64: Into Eternity

The first Remix64 CD was a rather hit and miss affair'an eclectic collection of C64 remixes as '80s hits, encompassing the catchy nature of that era's songs, but also the rather less welcome cheese factor. The second Remix64 CD, dubbed Into Eternity, takes an entirely different path, borrowing slightly from the filmic standard set by [...]

Instant Remedy – Instant Remedy

If Zombie Nation proved one thing, it's that C64 hooks can make for great dance music. But then Martin Andersson, better known as Instant Remedy, knew that a long time ago and was creating beat-laden C64 remixes long before Kernkraft 400's effort graced the charts. Here then we have an entire CD of Andersson's C64 [...]

Reyn Ouwehand – Galway Remixed

Reyn Ouwehand is one of the few people working on C64 remix CDs that was actually fairly well known as a composer on the original system. His first foray into C64 remix CDs, Nexus 6581, was a patchy affair. Its few classic reworkings were often overshadowed by jolly, bouncy numbers that were inexplicably common back [...]

Various Artists – Back in Time 3

The third in the Back in Time series sets its eclectic mix of tracks against the backdrop of a science fiction theme and is intended to be the soundtrack to a film that never was. Vignettes of bubbly Jarre-like melody link each track, and the album as a whole hangs together pretty well, proving to [...]

Sarah McLachlan – Afterglow

After a bit of time away, the Canadian goddess of mellow music is back. The new album is a continuation of her multi-layered style of emotional story telling. Since her last album Sarah lost her mother to cancer, and has become a mother herself and these two life altering events surface in this album. The [...]

Wyclef – The Preacher’s Son

Wyclef has become much more than just a member of The Fugees. He is also much more than the Bob Marley imposter which L.L. Cool J alleged. Wyclef is part of a hip-hop scene that is both commercially accessible but also has a uniquely characteristic charm. With his smash Grammy nominated album The Carnival, he [...]

Elbow – Cast of Thousands

Every once in a while, a band comes out of nowhere that can amaze a new listener. Elbow is one of those bands. Their debut album, Asleep In the Back was critically acclaimed, surpassing Gold and even winning the Mercury Prize. Still, many people were missing out on Elbow. The British band eventually signed to [...]

Felt – Crumbling The Antiseptic Beauty

Felt are one of the most respected, yet most unknown bands in indie-pop history. In the 80’s, Felt (and their enigmatic leader, Lawrence) planned to release 10 albums and 10 singles in 10 years. Through Cherry Red Records, El Records, and Creation Records, the band from Birmingham succeeded. Inspired by a Television song, Felt were [...]

The Delays – Faded Seaside Glamour

How do you make an album that sounds like summer? Well, if this debut from The Delays is anything to go by, it’s pretty straightforward really. For starters, you kick things off with a catchy hook played on kettledrums. Already the listener is in the Caribbean, or at the very least at the school summer [...]

Jasmine Minks – The Revenge Of The Jasmine Minks

Scotland’s anti-capitalist indie rock group, The Jasmine Minks have never put out a poor song or album. While many compilations only include popular singles and do not represent the band properly, Joe Foster and Rev-Ola (along with Cherry Red Records) have put out the definitive Jasmine Minks compilation from their work on Creation Records. The [...]

Fingathing – Fingathing And The Big Red Nebula Band

It was probably Bills' Volume 2 musings on the unique mythology of Superman that brought this memory back, but I distinctly remember running around in my baggy Superman costume as a boy, with The Planets by Holst playing triumphantly in the background. That music made a cushion held aloft feel like an asteroid, and a [...]

Killswitch Engage – The End of Heartache

This second album on Roadrunner sees Killswitch Engage with a change in line-up. There is a new vocalist, who had to take over from the awesome Jesse Lynch. Lynch (who is credited with additional backing vocals on this album and remains friends with the band) was a singer who could move vocally from banshee to [...]

Thin Lizzy – Greatest Hits

The Boys Are Back in Town, the opening track on Universal's new Thin Lizzy Greatest Hits compilation typifies the Thin Lizzy sound: Phil Lynott's gruff, surprisingly soulful vocals, the dual guitar riffs and the catchy hooks. One of the best bands to come out of Ireland, Thin Lizzy's songs have stood the test of time [...]

Bumblebeez 81 – The Printz

Australia has always been known for exporting interesting music like Severed Heads, Midnight Oil, The Lovetones, and Amateur Night In The Big Top but we rarely hear of dope Australian hip-hop. Bumblebeez 81 are a truly unique duo: a cross between The Beastie Boys, Beck, and Ween with a female emcee rocking the mic every [...]

The Fall – The Real New Fall LP (formerly Country On The Click)

You either get the Manchester madness of Mark E. Smith and The Fall or you don’t. They have experimented with almost every style and genre; yet still maintain a signature sound. They have been together since the late 70’s and Mark E. Smith does not seem to be slowing down at all. Go into any [...]

Mylo – Destroy Rock & Roll

At last the first decent dance album of the year has been produced. We hear far too many albums from big name DJ's which are practically thrown together with little thought being given to flow, concept or diversity. Enter 25-year-old Myles MacInnes, hailing from the quaint Isle of Skye (of all places), who has managed [...]

Feist – Let It Die

A few weeks ago I had no idea who Feist was. It was with complete innocence that I slid her One Evening single into my cd drive on my work machine. No expectation, little curiosity; just a few minutes to kill. It's not like when you've got a new album from a band you're already [...]

Niko – Life On Earth

Not sure who Niko is? Fair enough. But even if you've got a vague interest in the output of Manchester based Grand Central Records, you'll have heard her voice. Whether it's through Aim, Mark Rae, Only Child and/or Riton, the chances are that Niko's been on your CD player at some point in the last [...]

Severed Heads – Paleolithic

The Australian electronic group Severed Heads has always used video as an integral part of their music. Stephen Jones and Tom Ellard were the pioneers in mixing video with their live performances as well as using video synthesizers. Earlier this year, Tom Ellard (who is the sole member of Severed Heads these days), released "Robot [...]

DJ Krush – Jaku

Jaku might be the Japanese word for tranquillity, but the eighth Studio offering from DJ Krush is a brimming with tension at times. It feels like black rain in neon soaked near future Tokyo. Like that film with Michael Douglas in. What’s it called? Anyway. This is a sharp album with atmosphere in spades, and [...]

Saul Williams – Saul Williams

Poetry is a force of nature. It can successfully move through mediums with grace. Saul Williams is an actor and a musician but he is a poet before everything. Some may have seen him at Poetry Slams; others may have seen him in the films Slam and K-Pax. Saul Williams has been making music for [...]

Guitar Vader – Happy East

Miki Tanabe, Ujuan Shozo and Suzuki Yoshifumi (pictured above with new live keyboardist Steve Laity) return with a brand new Guitar Vader album, Happy East. Their previous album proper, From Dusk featured a track called Perfect Bird that was remixed by Hexstatic and wound up on their album Master-View. In between, Guitar Vader released a mini album called Dawn and finally managed to [...]

Sigur Rós – Von

The mesmerising, beautiful Ágćtis Byrjun propelled Sigur Rós on to the world stage, but the band's most recent album—the slightly disappointing ()—had them dismissed by many quarters as a one-trick-pony. Those of you who reckon one of Iceland's finest exports are capable of no more than spellbinding dirges have obviously never heard Von, the band's [...]

Handsome Boy Modeling School – White People

First of all, can you believe it’s been five years since So How’s Your Girl? Whether White People is also destined for classic status or not, this second album from Handsome Boy Modeling School is the modern equivalent of that famous De La Soul LP, Three Feet High and Rising. The fact that Prince Paul [...]

Joss Stone – Mind, Body and Soul

Joss Stone has surprised us all with her deep soulful voice, reminiscent of Aretha Franklin. Who would have thought that a voice like that could come from a little white English girl? Still, her debut release, The Soul Sessions, won the hearts of hip-hop and R&B; fans. A collection of cover tracks, it even got [...]

C Rayz Walz – Black Samurai EP

C Rayz Walz is an emcee's emcee who can rhyme like there's no tomorrow. While some people first heard him on Battle For Asgard, from Cannibal Ox's The Cold Vein LP, he has already been doing his thing for many years. A member of Stronghold and part of the Definitive Jux family, C Rayz Walz [...]

Viktor Vaughn aka MF Doom – VV:2 Venomous Villain

MF Doom is one of the most consistent, enigmatic and creative forces in hip-hop. From alias to alias, label to label, album to album, The Metal Face Villain has been consistently releasing quality hip-hop for years. Originally in KMD, MF Doom truly became an underground superstar with his solo debut Operation Doomsday. Always behind a [...]

Eminem – Encore

It had to happen sooner or later, I guess. But that doesn't mean that I can't be surprised: Eminem has turned out a lazy, half-assed album, and I don't want to listen to it. Marshall Mathers and his enormous marketing machine have, since 1998, consistently been one step ahead of the public. Every new album [...]

The Lovetones – Stars EP

The Lovetones make Beatles-influenced psychedelic pop songs under the leadership of Matthew J. Tow, who was also in Drop City and Coloursound. The Australian groups debut album, Be What You Want, was pure, tight, and psychedelic guitar-driven pop with bittersweet lyrics of love and relationships. On tour with The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Anton Newcombe had [...]

New Order – Waiting for the Sirens’ Call

What is it about New Order’s music that keeps it sounding contemporary? We’ve all been listening to it for so long, and their signature sound is so unmistakeable. When are we gonna get bored? Perhaps they keep us interested because they’ve got no need to rush. After all, their presence in musical history was assured [...]

Super Madrigal Brothers – Baroque in Voltage

Music and video games are forms of escapism that pull their participants into alternate worlds. Good music creates an alternate universe where the best things about us can be true. Even pop music and dance music rely on this "otherworldly" feeling, providing listeners with a fantasy world in which they feel like superheroes. This is [...]

Autechre – Untilted

It’s Untilted. Let’s just get that clear from the start. It’s not Untitled. Okay, good. I’m glad we’re all following that. Yes, it will confuse some but you know now so you’ve no excuse. I’ll continue... Untilted is the 8th studio album from Sheffield-via-Manchester boys and electronica/IDM/call-it-what-you-will stalwarts Sean Booth and Rob Brown, together known as Autechre. As [...]

The Perceptionists – Black Dialogue

Boston's contributions to hip-hop have been diverse, intelligent, yet appreciated by relatively few. From Guru (of Gangstarr) to Edo G, Boston has generally been underappreciated but respected by the underground hip-hop world. Three excellent artists from Boston have come together to form a supergroup. Akrobatik, Mr. Lif, and DJ Fakts are each unique as they [...]

Lyrics Born – Same Shit Different Day

Few emcees are blessed with a classic energy, vibe, voice, flow, lyrics, and product that can blow the listener's mind with every listen. Founder of Quannum Records (home of Blackalicious), Lyrics Born has earned this honor somewhat early in his career. While he gained minor notoriety with his group Latyrx (featuring Lateef as his partner), [...]

Jamie Lidell – Multiply

Jamie Lidell sounds like everything you've ever heard, and yet nothing. More specifically, all the soul and rhythm and blues you've ever heard, and yet none of it. Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, even the aloof brilliance of Gil Scott Heron, they're all here in spirit on this resplendent album, but they never interrupt. The sound [...]

Supergrass – Road to Rouen

“3 days I’ll be out of here and it’s not a moment too soon” laments Gaz, and so current single ‘St Petersburg’ begins. As throughout he whole of this album, Gaz’s vocals take a dreamy back seat to the emphasis on the heads-down jamming instrumentation, coupled with strident strings sweeping in and out of the [...]

Sigur Rós – Takk

Hauntingly beautiful. They're the words that come to mind when your ears first fall upon the sound of Sigur Rós, and they're the words you'll think of after 1000 listens. They really don't sound like anything else you've ever heard, and even though that's what everyone says about every band ever, in this case it [...]

Vashti Bunyan – Lookafterings

Vashti Bunyan is something of a rarity. There aren’t many artists that can claim a thirty five year hiatus between their first and second album. Back in the late Sixties, the folk singer released her debut album Just Another Diamond Day, but little interest was noted and disappointed, ex-art school student Vashti moved out to live [...]

Boards of Canada – The Campfire Headphase

Mmmmmmm…floaty ambience with a sinister underbelly. Yes that’s right, Boards of Canada are back with their third long player, following on from 2002s mostly excellent Geogaddi and the genuine post-modern classic that is Music Has the Right to Children, released back in 1999. And then there was Twoism, the stunning demo that started it all [...]

AFX – Hangable Auto Bulb

Mashed Potatoes. It’s not often that you hear those two words forming the bedrock of a track, but that’s exactly how Children Talking kicks things off on Hangable Auto Bulb, Richard D. James' pre Aphex Twin album from 1995, now reissued in 2005. It’s the start of just over half an hour of the distinct [...]

Amandine – This is Where Our Hearts Collide

Greatest Hits compilation for a mainstream artist anyone? Yup, it's that time of year again, where the great and the good are drowned out of the release schedule by the grating schmaltz. And I don't mean the Christmas songs. Not that there's anything wrong with anthologies in principle of course, but from here on in, [...]

New Order – Item (A Collection & New Order Story) DVD

Just when you thought a box set, best of and singles collection was enough retrospective New Order product within the last few years (not to mention more of the same in years before), it happens again! However, even if you own any of the above, Item is well worth a look due to it being [...]

Level 42 – Running in the Family

Level 42 were never a particularly trendy band, but what they lacked in image they made up for with top musicianship and top tunes. Running In The Family was amongst the first ever albums I ever bought– or should that be asked my Mum to buy me, being 7 at the time. I chose it [...]

Merle Haggard – Chicago Wind

As he makes his way to age seventy, Merle Haggard is as hard as ever to classify. Nominally a country singer (and a great one at that), he’s also one of America’s most accomplished living songwriters, well versed in the musical languages of rock, jazz, and blues. Known as one of country’s original “outlaw” singers [...]

Coldcut – Sound Mirrors

So, album number four for the mighty, the undeniably influential, and downright talented Jon More and Matt Black. It's actually been eight years since their last studio release, but well, they have been running Ninja Tune, Big Dada, and creating VJamm, their proprietary Audio Visual mixing software, among many other things in the meantime. So we'll let them [...]