Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Short Attention Span Record Reviews: Feb 2015

ALASDAIR ROBERTS – Alasdair Roberts
Roberts’ Scottish folk music is VERY Scottish and VERY folk and a bit too pastoral for my tastes, but I’m sure it makes a very romantic soundtrack to shagging sheep on the highlands if you’re into that sort of thing. (7)


More than 50 years into her career as a soul and blues singer, Bettye’s voice still sends chills down my spine and makes the hair stand on the back of my neck. Fans of Solomon Burke’s “Don’t Give Up On Me”, check this out ASAP. (8)

BJORK – Vulnicura

I feared we’d just get another 60 minutes of fax-machine gurgling noises but this one actually contains powerful, emotionally charged songs. An uncomfotable listen despite the lush strings, compelling nevertheless. (8)

BOB DYLAN – Shadows In The Night

“Dylan doing Sinatra songs” seems like a counterintuitive, bad, bad idea, but it works surprisingly well: This is actually the most enjoyable Dylan record since 1997’s “Time Out Of Mind”. (8)

CHIP Z’NUFF – Strange Time

Enuff Z’Nuff mainman explores his psychedelic side on a solo effort featuring original G’n’R drummer Steven Adler. Now don’t get me wrong, sometimes I truly believe that Enuff Z’Nuff’s “Welcome To Blue Island” is the greatest album ever made in the history of mankind, but this stuff is meh. (5)

HAYSEED DIXIE – Hair Down To My Grass

Yes it’s a one-trick pony and it’s lowbrow but somehow this joke never gets old, their bluegrass cover versions of hard rock anthens still make for lots of good clean fun. (7)

HOWLIN’ RAIN – Mansion Songs

Ethan Miller (ex-Comets On Fire) continues on his psychedelic folk rock trip with another one of those deep albums he always comes up with, the ones that slowly creep up on you. (8)

JELLYFISH – Bellybutton (Deluxe Edition)

Re-issue of the greatest pop debut of the 90’s that people never heard of, because people are idiots. This double-CD edition’s chock-full of extras such as live recordings and demos that only serve to reinforce the fact that Jellyfish is sorely missed today. (9)

JELLYFISH – Spilt Milk (Deluxe Edition)

Their second album re-issued, this one adds an extra dose of Queen to the band’s Beatles meets Cheap Trick approach. Also full of fantastic extras. (9)

JESSICA PRATT – On Your Own Love Again

There’s something almost magical about Pratt’s deceptively simple melodies and child-like voice. Fans of Anais Mitchell and Joanna Newsom will absolutely fall in love with this. (8)

KID ROCK – First Kiss EP

Oh god, this is worse than Nickelback. (3)

NAPALM DEATH – Apex Predator / Easy Meat

Skull-crushing, face-melting and extreme to the extreme, this is definitely going to be one of the year’s best metal albums, quite a feat for a band that’s been around for 34 years – longer than most of its fans. (9)

NATALIE PRASS – Natalie Prass

Wait a second, are you telling me that Jessica Pratt and Natalie Prass are two different persons? OK, I know I’m being unfair, I’m not sure if Pratt owns “Dusty In Memphis” whereas Prass definitely does. (7)

PERIPHERY – Juggernaut Alpha / Juggernaut Omega

Whoa. Huge step forward, caught me off-guard. This is quite excellent progressive metal and the singer finally testosteroned it up a notch or two. (8)


Minneapolis radio station The Current releases split 10” record of in-studio live performances to celebrate its tenth birthday. The Hold Steady side is mostly acoustic versions, but the Suicide Commandos side (a proto-punk Minneapolis band formed in 1974 that I’d never heard of before) is the real revelation, a full-on adrenaline blast that really blew me away. (9)

WHITEY MORGAN & THE 78’s – Born Raised And Live From Flint

Morgan’s songs are honky-tonk country but, being from Michigan, his attitude is pure high energy rock ‘n’ roll and so’s his facial hair. (8)

WILLIE NILE – If I Was A River

Cult Springsteen-esque rocker trades his guitar in for a piano and releases an album of touching ballads, the silliness of “Lullaby Loon” notwithstanding. (7)

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