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CD Reviews

James McArthur and the Head Gardeners - Burnt Moth (Moorland Records)

James McArthur graduated from playing drums with Paul Weller to striking out as an acoustic troubadour. Burnt Moth is his second album. There is a wonderfully intimate lo-fi feel throughout. The arrangements and McArthur's vocal delivery recall early 70s Heron or Magna Carta. A more contemporary...

Andrea Terrano - Innamorata (Atlantic Jaxx)

There's a crystalline clarity in Andrea Terrano's playing that draws you into the music like ripples on water. Indeed, the watery metaphors could easily be stretched further. Each track on the London-based Italian/Russian instrumentalist’s latest album INNAMORATA is rich in sun-dappled reflections...

Kate Dimbleby - Songbirds (Folkstock Records)

Bristol-based Kate Dimbleby, daughter of broadcaster David Dimbleby, has carved out a niche for herself in the genre of layered vocal pyrotechnics, inspired by those of Bobby McFerrin after studying with him in New York. Experimental throughout, SONGBIRDS features eleven songs, each showcasing Kate...

Baba Zula - XX (Glitterbeat)

This two-disc compilation covers a wide range of music courtesy of one of Turkey's most interesting psychedelic outfits. Here, taking the 'best of' concept to new heights by choosing live recordings and remixes, instead of re-releasing already established tracks, the Istanbul-based explorative...

Manran - The Two Days (Manran Records)

From the stylish cover of the album and the moody band shot inside, to the opening Guitar and Uilleann Pipes on Fiasco, AN DA LA - THE TWO DAYS first track, this is an album that just crackles with cool sophistication. The instrumentation and much of the music may be firmly within the tradition,...

Rab Noakes - The Treatment Tapes EP (Neon Records)

The launch of Rab Noakes's last album, the excellent I'M WALKING HERE, released in 2015, had to be delayed as a result of his being diagnosed with tonsillar cancer early in that year. Characteristically stoic and defiant however, the Fife singer-songwriter vowed to deal with the condition head on,...

Jimmy Aldridge and Sid Goldsmith - Night Hours (Fellside)

When you start playing NIGHT HOURS you're greeted with a 22 second recording of the nocturnal sounds of Bristol – punctuated by the low bass-heavy heartbeat which continues into the title track. It's the first glimpse of the boldness that flows through this album. With Jimmy Aldridge on vocals,...

Iona Lane - Solace (Self Release)

A surprisingly powerful second EP from Lancaster-born singer-songwriter Iona Lane, whose slightly fragile voice is reminiscent of that of a young Suzanne Vega, or maybe even a Laura Veirs. That said, it's that very delivery that helps give these four songs their power. The steady orchestrated build...

The Blue Aeroplanes - Welcome Stranger (Self Release)

The Blue Aeroplanes are a curious beast. A kind of Heinz 57 dog of a band. Whatever type of canine you like there is a bit of that in there somewhere and what emerges is something highly individual and much greater than the sum of the parts. Not that the band don't have an impressive pedigree,...

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