26/30 classic review rock singer-songwriter soul

rickie lee jones – pirates (1981)

‘Pirates’ thrills because of a rich voice, intricate arrangements, and the range of emotions evoked. The balladic, Disney-esque closer feels galaxies away from track two (which mentions a character named ‘cunt-finger Louis’).  Jones’ great strength is in binding a spectrum of images and stories together with the same string, so that her best records resemble […]

14/30 rock slowcore

natural part – horse jumper of love

‘Horse Jumper of Love’ begins with what sounds like a bowel-troubled Josh Tillman. The record doesn’t fulfill itself because it steps in so many great directions at once: it’s a strange problem to have. Each track exhibits a moment that was part of a better record in a different universe. On ‘I Poured Sugar in […]

26/30 latin singer-songwriter

tim bernardes – mil coisas invisíveis

Tim Bernandes’ sophomore album drops beside us with an opener educing golden festival evenings and the passing sight of brown-bottled beer. The Brazilian eccentric plays with melody in a child-like, Paul McCartney-inspired, joy—there is simply so little to dislike about the way these tracks are constructed. The psychedelia that slinks around the album is purely […]

21/30 indie/alternative rock

shintaro sakamoto – like a fable

After departing from Yura Yura Teikoku in 2010, Shintaro Sakamoto immediately began releasing his own work. The genre-defying, lovable sounds of his first three records are difficult to dislike: at worst, they’ll be a little repetitive. On his fourth LP, Sakamoto showcases his sweetest side through reggae-ish lullabies (?) and 70’s lounge. While the influences […]

24/30 album of the week indie/alternative rock

porridge radio – waterslide, diving board, ladder to the sky

Porridge Radio’s breakout record enjoyed the warm, thrumming glow of critical acclaim. This gorgeous follow-up departs in sensible areas, opening the band up to Nick Cave-inspired piano/organ backing and startling lovely guitar thrashes. Dana Margolin’s vocals have assumed an update: distressed and bereft, the voice is not so much strained affectation, as it is quivering, […]

9/30 folk r&b rock

van morrison – what’s it gonna take?

This latest Van Morrison record sounds superficially like inoffensive fairground music, written with the wisdom of a fuzzy, stuffed bear and with only marginally less smugness. Since 2020, The Belfast Cowboy has become a musical figurehead in anti-lockdown sentiment. Much of this LP is philosophically scant because Van’s suspicions tend to draw on misguided superiority […]

26/30 classic review psychedelic rock

the doors – morrison hotel (1970)

The Morrison Hotel was a real spot that organist Ray Manzarek discovered in downtown LA. He said it was the kind of place where you could “start a religion or plan a murder”. The Doors glowed with unnerving mystique. Whether it was Jim Morrison’s consecrated looks, his brutal behaviour, or the psychedelic rhythms, the band […]

26/30 album of the week rock

the smile – a light for attracting attention

“There is a smile of love and a smile of deceit” says William Blake. The trouble is that the two can be made indistinguishable. Thom Yorke resumes his neurotic, prophetic musings on a record that amplifies a call not for militarisation, but for the smiles of love to beam at one another. Vicious depictions of […]

23/30 folk rock singer-songwriter

kevin morby – this is a photograph

Vocally, Kevin Morby is third in a list alongside Bob Dylan and Kurt Vile. It’s a funny list that I just invented called ‘Singer/songwriters that you want to sound like but aren’t sure why because they’re not vastly impressive’. This is a warm, astute record that demands mutual engagement. It is too light to be […]