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Various Artists – Be True To Your School (A Fortuna Pop! Compilation)

Fortuna Pop!, 2008[rating:7/10] Fortuna Pop! is the pre-eminent label for those special acts that can't find a home anywhere else. Think of it as a shelter for the abandoned, misunderstood band either bursting with unrecognised talent or just looking for a place to crash. The sticker on the CD says "25 SMASH HITS from the

By |2009-01-27T02:23:46+00:00November 14th, 2008|Categories: Album Reviews|Tags: , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Deerhunter – Microcastle

4AD, 2008[rating:10/10] It's refreshing to listen to a band riding on a wave of no hype. No Myspace campaigns, no sycophantic hipsters attempting to crystal ball the next Vampire Weekend. Bradford Cox could probably walk into a bar anywhere and not get a second glance, and even then only for his rakish frame and elongated

By |2009-02-28T05:19:58+00:00October 28th, 2008|Categories: Album Reviews|Tags: , , , , , , , |0 Comments

The Walkmen – You & Me

Fierce Panda, 2008 [rating:8/10] The Walkmen have always sounded like a band out of time. From the ashes of once great Jonathan Fire-eater, they arrived on the New York scene shortly before the great Strokes explosion of 2000. Appearing as the infinitely more inviting alternative they lost out in the pin-up stakes but proved their?worth

By |2009-01-27T02:27:35+00:00October 23rd, 2008|Categories: Album Reviews|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

The Organ – Thieves

Mint Records, 2008[rating:9/10] Vancouver's The Organ shared that same shadowy intellectual existence that made them sound like a darker version of The Smiths, without Johnny Marr's trademark flair and Morrissey's veiled humour. Helmed by singer/lyricist Katie Sketch, they created a delicate sound that brooded and pined, Sketch's lyrics reading like private diary entries turned into

By |2009-02-28T05:23:32+00:00October 19th, 2008|Categories: Album Reviews|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

TV on the Radio – Dear Science

4AD, 2008[rating:9/10] Brooklyn art/beat innovators TV on the Radio return with their third album, a soulful slice of inspiration and invention, moving away from the doom and desperation of 2006's Return to Cookie Mountain to give us their own potent and poignant sign o' the times. TV on the Radio's chief technician David Sitek once

By |2009-02-28T05:21:11+00:00October 13th, 2008|Categories: Album Reviews|Tags: , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Jay Reatard – Matador Singles ’08

Matador, 2008[rating:7/10] Memphis native Jay Reatard (Jay Lindsey) has been making a name for himself since the late 90s, in bands like The Reatards and Lost Sounds, mixing up garage rock and synth punk. Recently signed to Matador Records under his own name, his output with them to date has been a succession of hit

By |2009-02-28T05:23:50+00:00October 9th, 2008|Categories: Album Reviews|Tags: , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Glasvegas – Glasvegas

Columbia, 2008[rating:9/10] From the Jesus and Mary Chain through to Franz Ferdinand, every once in a while the sound of Scotland will seemingly unleash an act that will take the music world by storm. Having whetted appetites with releasing several enticing limited edition singles over the last 12 months, Glasgow's Glasvegas have finally delivered one

By |2009-01-27T02:41:58+00:00October 3rd, 2008|Categories: Album Reviews|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

Constantines – Kensington Heights

Arts & Crafts, 2008[rating:8/10] Toronto's Constantines have tirelessly flown under the radar for many years now. Fiercely independent and untied to any particular scene or movement, their sound is punishing blend of brittle punk and impassioned rock and roll. They're like a true modern day blue-collar rock band. Endlessly compared to Bruce Springsteen and Fugazi,

By |2009-02-28T05:24:23+00:00September 27th, 2008|Categories: Album Reviews|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

The Vines – Melodia

Cooking Vinyl, 2008[rating:5/10] How times and fortunes quickly change. Where once The Vines were heralded as being part of some new rock and roll explosion, they became its first liability and not even a doctors note could explain away the fact that the Vines were creating more headlines than they were music. Two albums and

By |2009-02-28T05:25:38+00:00September 24th, 2008|Categories: Album Reviews|Tags: , , , , , , , |0 Comments

The Breeders – London – 4 September 2008

For a long time The Breeders seemed to go the way of the Pixies. As both Deal sisters battled their demons, Kim with liquor and Kelley with drugs, attempts at reviving their careers in the late '90s proved disappointing. Returning with Mountain Battles, their second album since their comeback in 2002, The Breeders bounced back

By |2009-07-27T15:26:43+01:00September 20th, 2008|Categories: Live Reviews|Tags: , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Okkervil River – The Stand Ins

Jagjaguwar, 2008[rating:8/10] The Austin boys in Okkervil River are back with another album and like always it's filled with surprising stories, dense lyrics and great tunes that stick with you. The Stand Ins sees the band explore the issue of stardom and fame from different perspectives including those of groupies, porn stars, ex-boyfriends and ageing

By |2009-04-05T22:34:15+01:00September 13th, 2008|Categories: Album Reviews|Tags: , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Stereolab – Chemical Chords

4AD, 2008[rating:7/10] Stereolab were an essential part of the 90s and a flipside to the wave of angst-ridden guitar bands that characterised that decade. Influenced by obscure experimental and pop bands, Stereolab set about creating a post-rock avant-garde sound that would hold them in high regard with critics and music fans alike. Returning with their

By |2009-02-28T05:27:09+00:00September 3rd, 2008|Categories: Album Reviews|Tags: , , , , , , , |0 Comments

The Gaslight Anthem – The ’59 Sound

SideOneDummy, 2008 [rating:9/10] The ’59 Sound starts, fittingly, with a sound of romance and antiquity -- a needle laid to vinyl. A spindly guitar riff echoes faintly in the distance, then suddenly erupts into an anthem. From this point onward, The ’59 Sound pulses with warmth and energy forged by the fusion of the most

By |2009-06-19T14:23:41+01:00August 19th, 2008|Categories: Album Reviews|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Heaven 17 – Live at Last

Cooking Vinyl, 2008 [rating:1/10] For those unaware, Heaven 17 existed on the periphery of the pioneering electronic new wave scene. They didn't have the pop flair of the Human League or the sequined glitz of ABC. Releasing a handful of albums sporadically throughout the 80s they never had the repeated chart success of their peers.

By |2009-02-28T05:28:40+00:00August 4th, 2008|Categories: Album Reviews|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

Paul Westerberg – 49:00

Dry Wood Music, 2008[rating:8/10] Paul Westerberg fronted one of the last truly great rock and roll bands with The Replacements. The entire Replacements oeuvre is currently being remastered and re-released for those who missed the boat or who want some audio clarity amidst the drunken rock and roll and Westerberg's dyslexic art. To strike a

By |2009-01-21T06:26:25+00:00August 4th, 2008|Categories: Album Reviews|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

M83 – Saturdays = Youth

 Virgin, 2008 [rating:7/10] I have a very vivid memory of M83's previous album Before the Dawn Heals Us being played at a thunderous volume while sleeping at a friend's house early one morning, and it shook through the drunken spillover of the night before as if the ceiling inside my head was about to cave

By |2009-01-27T03:12:17+00:00July 24th, 2008|Categories: Album Reviews|Tags: , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Kaki King – Dreaming of Revenge

  Cooking Vinyl, 2008 [rating:6.5/10] Having scored a Golden Globe nominated film soundtrack with Eddie Vedder, appeared on recent albums for Tegan and Sara and the Foo Fighters, and being named by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the new gods of guitar, you'd think that everything is coming up roses for Kaki King, the

By |2009-02-03T08:44:05+00:00July 15th, 2008|Categories: Album Reviews|Tags: , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Malcolm Middleton – Sleight of Heart

  Inertia, 2008 [rating:7.5/10] Malcolm Middleton, previously one half of gritty Scottish miserablists Arap Strap, establishes the modus operandi for his fourth album Sleight of Heart right from the get go. When he sings "We're having a week off/We're having a rest" from "Week Off", he means it; Sleight of Heart is a lighter, more

By |2009-01-27T03:14:59+00:00July 8th, 2008|Categories: Album Reviews|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

Liquid Liquid – Slip In and Out of the Phenomenon

Domino Records, 2008[rating:6/10] Post punk, new funk, even if its old junk, it's still rock and roll to me. Call it what you want, but history shows that Manhattan's Liquid Liquid were essentially a dub/groove-based band that while in their short lifespan became incredibly influential on the New York music scene both then and now,

By |2009-02-28T05:31:36+00:00July 4th, 2008|Categories: Album Reviews|Tags: , , , , , , , |0 Comments

My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges

Rough Trade, 2008 [rating:7.5/10] Never has a record so wrong-footed me like Evil Urges has. Louisville's My Morning Jacket were always a band with broad influences in their sound. 2005's Z was the strongest indication that their fret-tapping southern rock roots had run their course. Playing a solo show in London to promote the album,

By |2009-02-28T05:33:11+00:00June 20th, 2008|Categories: Album Reviews|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Santogold – Santogold

Downtown/Inertia, 2008[rating:8/10] "The rules are...there are no rules" intoned one time (Transvision) vamp Wendy James and is a maxim which Santi White, better known as Santogold, takes to heart. Older and wiser than most of her peers -- her C.V. includes stints as A&R rep for Epic Records and singer in rock/ska band Stiffed --

By |2009-01-27T03:17:11+00:00June 18th, 2008|Categories: Album Reviews|Tags: , , , , , , , |0 Comments

The Radio Dept. – Freddie and the Trojan Horse

Labrador, 2008[rating:8/10]It was not the lyrics that got me hooked on The Radio Dept but rather their gentle, dreamy melodies. The vocals of Johan Duncanson are an integral part of the band's sound but the words often blend into the background and set the mood rather then tell stories. The first single from their forthcoming

By |2009-04-04T16:26:49+01:00June 12th, 2008|Categories: Album Reviews|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

Camper Van Beethoven – Popular Songs of Great Enduring Strength and Beauty

Cooking Vinyl, 2008[rating:7/10] Listening to a Camper Van Beethoven CD is like opening a time capsule to an era where the alternative music scene was more of a nascent beast than what it is now, where bands like REM, The Replacements and Husker Du reigned supreme. The Zappa-influenced Camper Van Beethoven fell somewhere inbetween, merging

By |2009-02-28T05:34:13+00:00June 10th, 2008|Categories: Album Reviews|Tags: , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Mark E. Smith – Renegade: The Lives and Tales of Mark E. Smith

Viking, 2008 [rating:6/10] It begins at the end, or the supposed end, where having retired the old guard for a succession of young guns, Mark E. Smith faces up to a musician mutiny on The Fall's 2006 tour of America, where the disgruntled boys quit en masse four dates in. Were it for the peculiar

By |2018-07-19T06:05:00+01:00June 7th, 2008|Categories: Book Reviews, Reviews|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Steven Heath – The Airport Fire

Peak Plasma Conc., 2008[rating:6/10] "A soundtrack for driving around the city at night" is how Australia's Steven Heath depicts his latest release and it's not a far fetched description; the overall feeling that it leaves behind is that of cold, lonely nights with the radio as your only companion. Recorded in a friend's spare room,

By |2009-04-04T16:27:27+01:00June 1st, 2008|Categories: Album Reviews|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

Shearwater – Rook

Matador, 2008[rating:9/10] There are musicians who would flinch when accused of doing it "for the birds", reducing the act of making music to a mating call, but Jonathan Meiburg and his band ornithologists in Austin, Texas' Shearwater would find delight in such an accusation, after all, a shearwater is a species of seabird. Their passion

By |2009-02-28T05:36:45+00:00May 24th, 2008|Categories: Album Reviews|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

Robert Forster – The Evangelist

  EMI, 2008 [rating:8/10] Robert Forster and Grant McLennan were two months into writing the next Go-Betweens album when on May 6th 2006, Grant McLennan died suddenly of a heart attack at age 48. An indescribable blow to Australian music, McLennan's death was felt worldwide, and while we mourned his loss, attention turned to Forster

By |2009-02-28T05:36:47+00:00May 23rd, 2008|Categories: Album Reviews|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

Adem – Takes

Domino, 2008 [rating:8/10] Home recorded, folk-tinged, somewhat sullen but with equal parts warmth and optimism, South London's Adem Illhan lives a Nick Drake-ian life in a Brian Eno world. Having paid his dues with the post-rock band Fridge with Keiren Hebden (Four Tet) at the beginning of the decade, he has since picked a less

By |2009-01-23T02:52:23+00:00May 14th, 2008|Categories: Album Reviews|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

Be Your Own Pet – Get Awkward

XL, 2008 [rating:6/10] Junior Nashville punk rockers, Be Your Own Pet caused something of a stir at a show in London recently. Previewing tracks from their follow-up to 2006's self-titled debut, the band engaged in a food fight, whereby vocalist Jemina Pearl walked away from the melee with a fetching black eye. It's a decent

By |2009-02-28T05:38:23+00:00May 13th, 2008|Categories: Album Reviews|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

Centro-Matic/South San Gabriel – Dual Hawks

Cooking Vinyl, 2008 [rating:5/10] (Centro-Matic) [rating:7/10] (South San Gabriel) Will Johnson can seemingly do anything. A prolific songwriter, Johnson has spent over a decade playing indie rock in Denton, Texas' Centro-Matic, putting out a succession of albums before splitting his eclecticism in half, looking for a more contemplative approach to making music while still performing

The Monochrome Set – The Independent Singles Collection

Cherry Red, 2008 [rating:7.5/10] England 1979 -- punk was morphing into the more experimental post-punk and saw landmark releases from PiL, Gang of Four, The Cure, Joy Division and The Pop Group. And then...then there was The Monochrome Set. Instead of vitriolic and/or depressive lyrics, distorted guitars and dub and funk influenced bass The Monochrome

By |2009-01-23T03:13:42+00:00April 12th, 2008|Categories: Album Reviews|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

The Long Blondes – Couples

  Rough Trade, 2008 [rating:8/10] "Couples" by name and couples by nature, Sheffield's indie darlings, The Long Blondes were once discreetly paired up (drummer with bassist, obviously, and guitarist with keyboardist) leaving them looking like the Fleetwood Mac of the North. While the respective break-ups occurred before the making of the album, it's of small

By |2011-08-10T09:56:59+01:00April 4th, 2008|Categories: Album Reviews|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

Destroyer – Trouble In Dreams

Rough Trade, 2008 [rating:8/10] Daniel Bejar is the Woody Allen of pop music. His idiosyncratic, poetic touch opens up another world, planting himself square in the middle around a revolving cast of characters (mostly women), picking up on the ripples and waves they create, and making them part of his own interior monologue. His approach

By |2009-02-28T05:55:39+00:00March 29th, 2008|Categories: Album Reviews|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

Adorable – Footnotes 92-94 (Best Of)

Cherry Red, 2008 [rating:8/10] How does a band become a "favourite?" Some acts are found and then loved via recommendations from press, blogs, radio or friends. Some have an extensive back catalogue ready to be devoured and devoted to. Others quietly creep up behind and sucker punch you with a single song leaving you stunned and

By |2015-08-26T03:25:44+01:00March 21st, 2008|Categories: Album Reviews|Tags: , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Times New Viking – Rip It Off

Matador, 2008 [rating:7/10] Times New Viking are the future. They're not my future, they're probably not your future, but they are the future. Rip It Off is their third album and first on Matador records as their latest darlings. The title could be interpreted as an invitation to, or a connect the dots as to

By |2009-02-28T05:58:20+00:00March 19th, 2008|Categories: Album Reviews|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!

  Mute/EMI, 2008 [rating:8/10] The passing of time has done nothing to dampen Nick Cave's spirit or soften his tongue. In the preceding decade spent mostly strapped to the piano like a bible-addicted lothario, it gave the impression that this is where the story ends: in ebony and ivory theology. Those Leonard Cohen years that

By |2009-02-28T05:58:28+00:00March 18th, 2008|Categories: Album Reviews|Tags: , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Dean Wareham – Black Postcards

Penguin Press, 2008 [rating:7/10] "I don't wanna stay at your party/I don't want talk to your friends/I don't wanna vote for your president/I just wanna be your tugboat captain." Over simple chords, and a shaky voice listing in an ocean of reverb, it was with those words that first signalled the arrival of a little

By |2018-07-19T06:07:20+01:00March 11th, 2008|Categories: Book Reviews, Reviews|Tags: , , , , , , |2 Comments

Webcuts Top 20 Albums of 2007

We graze of the green pastures of 2007 and find the cream of the crop including Damn Arms, Grinderman, Spoon, The Concretes, Feist, Faker, John Doe, The Shins and more.

Detektivbyrån – Hemvägen

Danarkia, 2006 [rating:8/10] With glockenspiel, accordion and toy-piano Detektivbyrån (Dee-tek-teeve-bu-ron, "The Detective Agency") take their audience on an imaginative musical journey through the urban streets of Paris and the forests of Värmland, the Swedish province where the band originate from. By now Anders Flanders, Jon Ekström and Martin Molin, the members of Detektivbyrån, must be

By |2009-04-04T16:31:48+01:00December 29th, 2007|Categories: Album Reviews|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

Miss Li – Late Night Heartbroken Blues

National, 2006 [rating:8/10] With three albums within a twelve months period and a best of album summarising her first year released, Miss Li may be the most productive artist in Scandinavia today, if not ever. It all began with Late Night Heartbroken Blues, an impressive debut album that sucks you in and one that you

By |2009-04-04T16:32:19+01:00December 27th, 2007|Categories: Album Reviews|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

Tegan and Sara – The Con

Vapor/Sire, 2007 [rating:8.5/10] Although always writing separately, the initial blueprints for The Con, saw the twins geographically distanced -- Tegan in Vancouver, Sara in Montreal. Reunited and with demos in hand the pair moved to Portland with producer Chris Walla (Death Cab for Cutie, The Decemberists) at the helm, recording in his basement studio. Tegan

By |2009-02-28T06:01:10+00:00December 22nd, 2007|Categories: Album Reviews|Tags: , , , , , , |1 Comment

Jacob Golden – Revenge Songs

Echo, 2007 [rating:9/10] Those lucky enough to catch Jacob Golden's live know just how extraordinary he can be armed with only an acoustic guitar and his angelic voice. His self titled debut EP in 2001 bottled some of that magic but his debut long player, Hallelujah World released in 2002, partly obscured his natural gifts

By |2009-01-23T03:42:45+00:00November 20th, 2007|Categories: Album Reviews|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

Merge, 2007 [rating:9.5/10] It's almost an established fact that once a band hits album number 4 or 5 they're practically running on empty. Creative juices have all but dried up, different directions are attempted, band friction comes to the fore and as the years go by each new release just isn't a patch on former

By |2009-02-28T06:02:29+00:00November 18th, 2007|Categories: Album Reviews|Tags: , , , , , , , , |0 Comments