Review: Woodpigeon – Thumbtacks + Glue

Artist: Woodpigeon
Title: Thumbtacks + Glue
Label: Fierce Panda / Boompa
Review @ PopMatters
Score: 4/10

Thumbtacks + Glue arrives at the tail end of a period which for Hamilton and Woodpigeon have been so productive that it’s hard to tell which number LP it actually is. Since the last “proper” full-length, Die Stadt Muzikanten, no less than two other albums and three EPs have been put out under the Woodpigeon name, not including extra live material. It’s an avalanche, and it matters because Thumbtacks + Glue sounds, perhaps not surprisingly, like the work of an exhausted Mark Hamilton.

Read the rest of the review at PopMatters

Review: Bad Religion – True North

Artist: Bad Religion
Title: True North
Label: Epitaph
Review @ PopMatters
Score: 8/10

A succession of yet more confrontational, fiercely intelligent and memorable lyrics set to yet another 35 minutes of consistently searing guitars and drums,
True North simply doesn’t need to be original or inventive. Bad Religion’s sound is as effective a shield against the numbing white noise, both political and musical, that makes up much of the world outside as it was in 2007, 1988 or 1979. Notwithstanding that cruel joke from Graffin, we should be able to rely on this singular, fascinating outfit for a while yet.

Read the rest of the review at PopMatters

Review: Rebekka Karijord – We Become Ourselves

Artist: Rebekka Karijord
Title: We Become Ourselves
Label: Control Freak Kitten
Review @ TLOBF
Score: 7.5/10

More wide-ranging thematically but also more consistent in tone than Karijord’s impressive last record, We Become Ourselves is a another strong statement of steady, continued development on the part of one of Scandinavia’s most reliable singer-songwriters. Heady and deep without being inaccessible, it is a set of songs which reward repeated listening and one which younger challengers would be right to envy.

Read the rest of the review at The Line of Best Fit


Review: Lucy Rose – Like I Used To

Artist: Lucy Rose
Title: Like I Used To
Label: Columbia
Review @ TLOBF
Score: 7.5/10

Lucy Rose’s “haste to state that she is neither ‘just a girl with a guitar singing about how she feels’ nor reliant on love songs is strange given that Like I Used To is, err, an album of love songs about feelings, by a girl. With a guitar, even. But Rose can rest easy – while her record is much closer to established models than she would have us believe, it remains a solid effort which stands up well on its own.”

Read the rest of the review at The Line of Best Fit

Review: The Dø – Both Ways Open Jaws

Artist: The Dø
Title: Both Ways Open Jaws
Label: Village Green
Review @ The 405
Score: 9/10

While Helsinki-born singer Olivia Merilahti and Paris multi-instrumentalist Dan Levy could so easily have sought to repeat their success with more of the same, they made the braver choice. Still as hooked on new and exciting sounds as before but also full of determination to make the best possible music, The Dø have spectacularly surpassed themselves with Both Ways Open Jaws – indeed, they have produced one of the most inventive, accomplished and engaging albums of the year.

Read the rest of the review at The 405

Review: Jonathan Coulton – Artificial Heart

Artist: Jonathan Coulton
Title: Artficial Heart
Label: Jocoserious
Review @ PopMatters
Score: 7/10

A few years ago after a show in Seattle, singer-songwriter and former computer programmer Jonathan Coulton was approached by two developers from multi-billion dollar videogame empire Valve Corporation. Agreeing to work with them on their new project, Coulton wrote “Still Alive”, the song which closed Valve’s 2007 puzzle game Portal. Featuring the vocals of a deranged artificial intelligence played by opera singer-turned-voice actress Ellen McLain, the piece drew on Coulton’s experience with geek culture and added millions of gamers to his expanding audience. Given the break of a lifetime, what is a self-described “internet superstar” to do next?

Read the rest of the review at PopMatters

Review: Manic Street Preachers – National Treasures

Artist: Manic Street Preachers
Title: National Treasures
Label: Columbia
Review @ The Line of Best Fit
Score: N/A

For a band that claimed they would never write a love song, Manic Street Preachers have inspired some strong emotions. For a band that also claimed they would record one album and break up, they have been doing so for 25 years, being met variously with adoration, derision, acclaim and scepticism. Having formed in South Wales in 1986 as four idealistic upstarts, the Manics became three elder statesmen of British rock, a cult force with international recognition and an uncommonly devoted fanbase.

Read the rest of the review at The Line of Best Fit

Review: Shonen Knife – Osaka Ramones

Artist: Shonen Knife
Title: Osaka Ramones
Label: Good Charamel
Review @ The 405
Score: 9/10

Our often deep-seated cynicism about cover albums isn’t without justification. Routinely deployed by creatively exhausted bands to fulfil contractual obligations in the absence of new material, tribute records can be a dispiriting prospect. Then of course there’s the prospect of Japan’s premier punk outfit raiding the back catalogue of the Ramones…

Read the rest of the review at the 405
My interview with Naoko Yamano of Shonen Knife is coming soon

Review: Ane Brun – It All Starts With One

Artist: Ane Brun
Title: It All Starts With One
Label: Balloon Ranger
Review @ PopMatters
Score: 5/10

An idiosyncratic use of the English language, a seemingly impenetrable mystique, and songs that balance emotional expressiveness with a kind of northerly chill—when it comes to Scandinavian singer-songwriters, Ane Brun ticks many of the boxes. While in recent years contemporaries of hers like Robyn or Lykke Li have built increasingly successful pop careers on these foundations, Brun has always been different. More a serious chanteuse than a pop princess, she has nevertheless found a warm response in her native Norway.

Read the rest of the review at PopMatters

Review: Peggy Sue – Acrobats (US Release)

Artist: Peggy Sue
Title: Acrobats
Label: Yep Roc / Wichita
Review @ PopMatters
Score: 9/10


Acrobats is no Beatles for Sale, no abrupt admission by a sunny pop band that yes, love can be messy and complicated and fraught with difficulties. Instead, this tense and highly-charged album is part of the progression of a group that was once called Peggy Sue and the Pirates into a mature outfit increasingly in control of its own promising destiny.

Read the rest of the review at PopMatters

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"There's a flaming red horizon that screams our names..."

Jeff Buckley - "Eternal Life"


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