Aoife Nessa Frances – Land Of No Junction

Aoife Nessa Frances – Land Of No Junction

In the words of Irish singer-songwriter Aoife Nessa Frances, her debut album explores a “dark vast landscape” of “liminal space”, an imagined place where she would “sit with uncertainty and accept it”. In practical terms, that means an album of woozy psych-folk that initially seems curiously out of focus, almost as if taking a cue from the title, LP co-producer/musical collaborator Cian Nugent’s childhood mishearing … Continue reading Aoife Nessa Frances – Land Of No Junction

Gregory Porter – All Rise

Gregory Porter has one of those voices which, as the cliché goes, could sing the telephone directory. Although 2017’s Nat King Cole & Me wasn’t exactly reaching for the Yellow Pages, it didn’t hit quite the same spot as his two previous self-penned mega-sellers Liquid Spirit and Take Me To The Alley. Fortunately for fans of his songwriting, All Rise is back to business, but … Continue reading Gregory Porter – All Rise

Horse Lords – The Common Task

Horse Lords – The Common Task

On paper, Baltimore’s Horse Lords sound more interesting than they do appealing. Like worthy but not fun math-rockers. On this third album, they employ algorithmic composition techniques and knotty time signatures, fired up by the radical socialist theories explored in Chile prior to General Pinochet’s coup d’état. On record, Horse Lords run wild and free. Heavy microtonal riffs ring out over galloping polyrhythms and a … Continue reading Horse Lords – The Common Task

The Stokes – The New Abnormal

The Strokes – The New Abnormal

After a prolonged hiatus, New York City fops The Strokes return with their first album for seven years. The break, as John Earls observes, has done them a world of good… The Strokes – The New Abnormal 8/10 Having arrived perfectly formed out of nowhere 19 years ago with Is This It, the expectations around The Strokes’ new album are pretty much zero all over … Continue reading The Strokes – The New Abnormal

Violent Femmes – Hotel Last Resort

A mere 10 albums in and Violent Femmes continue to be one of America’s most distinct alternative underground artists; sitting somewhere in that territory between Pixies, Royal Trux and Meat Puppets, their latest album, as many of them do, haphazardly traverses punk, country, folk and alt-rock, and is driven by the inimitable, and often wonky, vocal of the semi-legendary Gordon Gano. On the album’s title … Continue reading Violent Femmes – Hotel Last Resort

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Infest The Rats’ Nest

Trying to predict where King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are going to go with their next record, or how many of them are going to be released in a year, has been a futile task for some time now. However, of all the avenues the band have been down in recent years exploring garage, psych, prog and experimental rock, few would have guessed they’d … Continue reading King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Infest The Rats’ Nest

Barns Courtney – 404

You might not know the Barns Courtney name, but you’ll probably know his songs Glitter And Gold and Fire from a host of sync spots on TV. He deserves to be known properly, as his music has the big personality to match Courtney’s flamboyant, Brandon Flowers-style vocals. He’s from Cambridgeshire, but is bigger in the States, where he’s regularly performed on chat shows. Small wonder  … Continue reading Barns Courtney – 404

Foals – Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost (Part 2)

When Part 1 was released in March, Foals’ claims that its successor would be the rockier album seemed dubious: the songs on the initial record rocked hard. Surely, having been away for a while, the more commercially sensible move would be to release the record with the most immediate impact first? In short, commercial imperative be damned. As lead singles The Runner and live favourite … Continue reading Foals – Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost (Part 2)

Hiss Golden Messenger – Terms Of Surrender

MC Taylor’s impecible musical heritage elevates this latest entry in a catalogue now in double figures. While Phil and Brad Cook are again present, Taylor has broadened his horizons, inviting outside influences. Among the expanded roll call of Hiss Golden Messenger is The National guitarist Aaron Dessner, and My Wing’s central riff bears a resemblance to the Ohio band’s This Is The Last Time. Jenny … Continue reading Hiss Golden Messenger – Terms Of Surrender