Bob Dylan – Tempest

September 24th, 2012 by

In many ways, Bob Dylan’s new album (his 35th studio recording in a 50 year career) is unreviewable, as almost any record he releases at this point in his illustrious and storied career would be. Specifically, a contemporary Dylan album of new material is difficult, if not impossible, to review because of whatever relationship it […]

Patterson Hood – Heat Lightning Rumbles In The Distance

September 19th, 2012 by

The third solo album from Patterson Hood, front man and main songwriter of the Drive-By Truckers, finds him constructing a largely first person, autobiographical narrative. The impressionistic story harks back to 20 years ago, when Hood was 27, a troubled period in his life when his first marriage broke up, his first band broke up, […]

Ry Cooder – Election Special

August 30th, 2012 by

There is a species of young folk walking the streets (and middle-aged folks too, I guess, not to be ageist about it), who will have you believe that dissent – the spirit which animated everyone from Woody Guthrie to The Clash – in popular music is dead, and that the whole shooting match has been […]

James Yorkston – I Was A Cat From A Book

August 22nd, 2012 by

On his fifth album proper, and first in four years, Edinburgh-based folkie and former Fence Collective member James Yorkston broadens his musical palate, although in such a subtle way that you might not notice at first listen. There is still the hushed, understated delivery of the Nick Drake/Elliott Smith-like insistent, finger-picked guitar and the vocals […]

Dr John – Dublin

July 26th, 2012 by

It’s a hot, rainy, humid night in Dublin, perhaps not all that dissimilar to the Savannah conditions Mac Rebennack, better known to the world as Dr. John, would be used to in his native New Orleans. There’s a palpable buzz around the sold-out venue, an air of expectation that this is going to be something […]

Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Americana

June 28th, 2012 by

There is a strong argument that Neil Young’s best records are those made with Crazy Horse, the garage band who get to play stadiums. The country folk strains of the likes of Harvest, Comes A Time, Old Ways, Harvest Moon and Prairie Wind are what made Young bankable, but the motherlode is located in the […]

Dr Feelgood – All Through The City (with Wilko 1974-1977)

June 21st, 2012 by

As the recent BBC4 documentary series Punk Britannia persuasively hypothesised, the revolution of 1977 was the bastard offspring of the miscegenatious union of r’n’b and glam, when the pub rock and art college scenes met. From the former came most of the music, from the latter most of the look and attitude. Always somewhat Britcentric, […]

Patti Smith – Banga

June 12th, 2012 by

When you think about it, Patti Smith occupies a rather anomalous position in contemporary music. Venerated and enjoying major label backing and promotion, her actual sales have never justified the freedom she seems to enjoy to do as the pleases – unlike Dylan, Young or Springsteen. She makes the kind of records she wants, when […]

Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls

April 26th, 2012 by

Alabama Shakes’ self-produced debut, recorded last year in Nashville’s Bomb Shelter studio before there was such a big buzz about them, comes freighted with expectation. People I like, like them, and have talked them up: they’ve opened for Drive-By Truckers, and are currently on tour with Jack White. Much has been made of the analogue […]

Spiritualized – Sweet Heart Sweet Light

April 25th, 2012 by

Spiritualized, it is often remarked, tend to polarise opinion. Few people just ‘like them’, or ‘think they’re alright’. More usually, they are either eulogised as avatars of transcendental bliss who manage to marry core values rock’n’roll and dirty ass garage blues with flights of orchestral and gospel choir sumptuousness, all done through a psychedelic filter […]

Spiritualized – Dublin

March 26th, 2012 by

Writing as one who has seen Spiritualized countless times over the years, this evening’s performance can be characterised as one of their more unusual gigs. For a start, it has been rescheduled from last October, first to last month, then to tonight, just as the release of new album Sweet Heart Sweet Light has been […]

The War On Drugs – Dublin

February 29th, 2012 by

Hot on the heels of last Sunday’s visit by fellow traveller Kurt Vile to the same venue, Adam Granduciel’s The War on Drugs roll into town. First of all, it has to be said: what a great name for a band. Is that The War on Drugs, or The War on Drugs? The one minute […]

Lambchop – Mr. M

February 23rd, 2012 by

It’s been four year since Lambchop’s last outing OH (Ohio) a long gap by the group’s previously prolific standards. Mainman Kurt Wagner was quoted at the time as saying that the ever-evolving project which had occupied the preceding 14 years of his life maybe only had one more good record left in them. So, the […]

tUnE-yArDs – Dublin

February 13th, 2012 by

Merrill Garbus, the woman who is for all intents and purposes tUnE-yArDs, stands alone centre stage, flanked by a floor tom and a snare with two microphones and a pedal board in front of her and begins to build a sound collage with her extraordinary voice, over a looped drum figure. Like a lost Amazonian […]