20/30 jazz pop rock

fievel is glauque – flaming swords

We never entirely trust the ostensible positivity of Flaming Swords. It’s a disarming album of very smooth jazz, which it then cuts up into unpredictable, coltish motions. The septet have an infectious sense of play that – forgive the middle-class dad analysis – the French do very well. Fievel is Glauque succeed less in producing […]

26/30 garage rock psychedelic rock

the human expression – love at psychedelic velocity (recorded 1966-67/released in 1994)

LA has its own unique psychedelic environment which can be seen today through the surreal lives of influencers and those scratching at the door of hot, empty fame. But in the mid-1960s, there was a genuine fascination for where the mental boundary was and how it could be snapped in two. The Human Expression never […]

25/30 album of the week experimental punk rock

the cool greenhouse – sod’s toastie

Tom Greenhouse sounds like the coworker you never know beyond the timesheet; or the man who takes your details while setting up a council tax account; or the guy who accidentally drops his satchel on your feet on a crowded bus. This is an account of a soul-sucked eyeline and it’s hope for spiritual revival. […]

24/30 disco punk rock

special interest – endure

Glam-punk tends to reference characters who fight, fuck, self-destruct, and at some level, love. The various dichotomies across Endure inevitably become codependent: the glam doesn’t pour glitter over the punk and the punk doesn’t take a shit on the glam. They unite, and it works in a special way. The externally questioning half of this […]

26/30 folk revisited review rock

geoffrey oryema – exile (1990)

The cover of Exile poses two possible scenarios: the person is being thrown, or they are raising their head as an expression of openness. The status of ‘exile’ holds the same dualism—free, in theory only, to go anywhere but your home. The record is a story of youthful longing, and we imagine the protagonist walking […]

21/30 indie/alternative rock

drugdealer – hiding in plain sight

Drugdealer makes no secret of his musical influences, jokingly describing his brand as ‘Derivative Rock’. The multi-instrumentalist toes the line between tasteful pastiche and total plagiarism of 70s soft rock, but comes with enough charm to make ‘Hiding in Plain Sight’ a joy. His third record brings a funkier edge to his psychedelic sound and […]

20/30 indie/alternative rock

arctic monkeys – the car

The earnest voyaging on The Car is redressed by its lounging charm. It is an album of multitudes and conflict, despite the Bacharach-inspired orchestral delivery. Alex Turner’s vocals are a neat illustration of where this record works, and where it dwindles—they undulate and over pronounce, reaching composed falsettos between some pretty inane pitch fiddling. The […]

24/30 country rock

plains – i walked with you a ways

Plains is the duo project of Waxahatchee and Jess Williamson. Several comments I’ve seen have insisted that this record is ‘pretty, but nothing special’. I disagree. IWWYAW certainly cooks to a recipe, but the final product is a meticulous, poignant collection of country tracks. Yes, I’ll be taking the boomer line that you don’t need […]

25/30 album of the week folk rock singer-songwriter

bill callahan – YTILAER

Bill Callahan has exposed a lot of his soul, but ceaseless in his songwriting lives a perpetually roaming orientation. Each track here sounds as though he has momentarily halted a horseback journey to take in the view of a mountain range. YTILAER is reflective, but its greatest quality is in the rousing intimacy of each […]