Thursday, December 29, 2005

A list in time

Its the time of year for those dreadful end of year lists. They are much more fun to write than to read. Fortunately, since the ratio of readers to writers here is very low the amount of fun in the world is going to be increased.

So here we are in no particular order and indeed no particular concern that the album was actually released during the year.

  • My Morning Jacket, Z. A new favourite as I just got this for Christmas and it was a fortunate mistake too as a magazine CD had it mislabelled.

  • Kate Bush, Aerial. Can any album live up the expectation of so many years wait. I don't know, but this album is certainly better than I was expecting. It's as good as my favourite Kate album The dreaming.

  • Elbow, Leaders of the free world.One of the best bands around, there is no need to say more.

  • Sigur Rós, Takk.... Glorious, joyous music. I still probably prefer () though.

  • Alex Parks, Honesty. Great album, great voice and great tunes.

  • KT Tunstall, Eye to the Telescope. This is going to be a favourite for long time to come.

  • British Sea Power, Open Season. This band just gets better. So OK, its only their second album.

  • Feeder, Pushing the senses.

  • Leaves, The Angela test. Second Icelandic band in the list. Like Coldplay without the whine (a bit unfair, I do quite like Coldplay).

  • Mercury Rev, The secret Migration. I've not listened many times to this record but it has impressed me each time.

  • Sophie Barker, Earthbound. Surprise of the year, lovely, lovely, lovely.

A mention for the best title: Keep music miserable by Lowgold, a good motto for next year.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Bedford

Another visit to the Bedford. It looked a very good line up, acts I'd either seen before or have wanted to.

In the order I remember them, we first had Haley Glennie Smith. Amazing voice. She has a couple of tracks on the soundtrack album to the film Stoned about the Rolling Stones founder Brian Jones. Her tracks are Love in vain and Come on in my kitchen.

Not seen Alexis Strum before. She was fairly good but I don't have anything special to write about her.

I'd seen Claire Toomey before and written about it here. I didn't say then but I was a little disappointed with how the band sounded on the previous occasion. However this time it sounded a lot better; its not the ideal environment for a rock band as just as you get going you have to stop and then start up again in the next set. However this time I could really imagine how they would sound at a bigger show.

Surprise find of the evening was Mozez who I'd not even heard of before. Smooth soulful vocals, interesting music too.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


I am way behind on writing up the past few weeks so I will jump ahead right ahead.

I went to see KITT today. They have a residency at the Princess Victoria Pub in Shepherds Bush, where they play every other month.

This is a fairly new band that has been going about six months. They are session musicians who have apparently played for bands such as the Gorillaz, KT Tunstall and the Prodigy.

Although the sound in general was OK the singers voice was way down in the mix and couldn't be heard very well. I had a chance to talk to them afterwards and its something they recognised and I am assured that this will be sorted out at the next gig.

On a quieter song there was a guest cellist, again couldn't particularly hear the cello, but the song was one of the highlights of the show.

They are playing again on the 12th January, and there should be better sound and more strings and perhaps mince pies and mulled wine. All in all I enjoyed the show and I shall be going to the next one.

Updated:No matter how many times I make the mistake of thinking that bi-monthly means twice a month, I keep on making it - so it is every two months as updated above. Also the Dec 15th gig that was originally mentioned has been cancelled. The next one is the 12th January.

Updated update:It seems that bi-monthly can mean both twice a month and every two months. So its OK to be confused I guess.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Sine Star Project

This is another short catch up review, sorry....

I'd not been to the Dublin Castle for a long time. So here I was to see the Sine Star Project a band I'd tried to see before but missed them after arriving late to a gig went inexplicably to schedule.

No such setbacks here. I'd wanted to see them as I'd come across their web-site and listened to several of their songs which were all very strong. Songs with soaring melodies, multi-layered sounds and interesting instruments to boot. The pedal steel was employed on several of the songs to great effect.

Two other similar bands that I have still to see are Hera Crush and Duplex Guage.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

KT Tunstall, Shepherds Bush Empire

I was looking forward to this gig for a long time and it didn't disappoint. She did most of the songs off the album and a few news ones that also sounded good. So perhaps there will be another album that measures up to her outstanding debut.

And that is it for this review as I am catching up...

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Seen

Catching up with brief descriptions of some previous gigs...

One of the John Peel tribute gigs was held at the Purple Turtle near Mornington Crescent.

I'd never been to this venue before and The Northern line wasn't running so I nearly didn't go. When I arrived there were police vans outside and many people had been thrown out or taken away. I missed the cause of it all.

I'd gone to see Lily Fraser, this time she was with her full band and they were great as usual, but I've already written about them so I'll concentrate on the last act of the evening The Seen.

They are a four-piece from North London. They call their sound Sonic Soul and it is an interesting sound not easy to pin down. They combine funk guitar with swirling guitars with a solid rock rhythm section. I was reminded of Blink (but thats probably just me). All in all one of the best bands that I've stumbled upon.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

CD: KT Tunstall, Eye to the telescope

I'd known of KT Tunstall before that incredible performance on Later with Jools Holland. Playing solo using tape loops (or whatever you call them when they don't use tape as they surely don't) to build up a sound of a small band playing. I know that I wasn't the only one that was captivated.

Still that stuck in my memory although I didn't connect the name, until hearing tracks off her album on holiday, thinking they were good and having to ask who they were by. Then it was all connected together.

So finally I bought the album and I am also going to see her at the Shepherds Bush Empire in October. My favourite tracks on the album are Universe & U and False Alarm.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Claire Toomey

I received the Claire Claire Toomey CD today, that I ordered from her website. Its a promo CD with the four tracks:

  1. one last look

  2. i can't stay here

  3. world without windows

  4. world without windows (acoustic version)

The songs are all familiar as they have all been on the website. I think that she is one of the best of the new singer songwriters around at the present and I am hoping that she will become well known(not that I have a very good record on actually predicting who will or course). Good as the songs sound with the full band, listening to the acoustic version of a song with just a guitar accompaniment is always a very good indication of how good the song itself is. The final track on this album (and others on her website) are very good examples of just how fine the songs are. I am totally looking forward to a proper album from her.

Earlier this year, I saw her at the Bedford. There are other write-ups of that event hereand here.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Trilla Jenna

Went to the Comedy Pub today. I've been to the actual pub before, but not to the downstairs venue which is known as the Red Room. I'd found out about the gig as I'm on the mailing list of Mama Razzi who were first on. They were fine, just them both singing accompanied by electric piano.

The best act of the evening for me however was Trilla Jenna. She is a MC and singer songwriter. They started off with a cover of the Rolling Stones Satisfaction and then with songs I didn't recognise, self penned perhaps? Backed with an excellent band, the songs had a Reggae/Jazz feel to them.

The final duo were called Sketchbook (at least I think they were, I can't remember them actually saying their name). The singer had a sweet voice and some of the song quite good.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Tomokiyo, Lily Fraser and Rougier

I went to the Betsy Trottwood yesterday (9th August). The pub has a really small venue room downstairs, it seems like there is hardly room for any audience a bit like being in someone's living room. A fair few people were in by the end though.


First on was Rougier (sorry I could not find a website but see here).

Songs accompanied by accordion, angry songs, and funny. I did laugh at some of the lyrics, and although the set dragged a little in the middle, but ended well.

Lily Fraser

So after writing up the previous Lily Fraser gig I went to back in January it turns out that she is playing again and I can go, so here is the second entry for the same artist in as many weeks. In fact I wrote the previous article just to break things up a bit.

This was an acoustic gig with Lily singing, Milly Pay on harp and a new guitarist Greg Edwards, who had joined the band since I last saw them. The guitarist was very good and the harp and guitar work very well together.

The news is that there is going to be a new record out in about a month.


Last on were Tomokiyo They are said to mix elements of Coldplay and the Killers but I don't know about that, couldn't really hear either and its a strange combination. Never mind though, they were very good. I was going to leave early, as I had to be up early the next day, but ended up listening to their whole set.