Category: Reviews

Single: Animal Collective – Summertime Clothes

‘Summertime Clothes‘ is one of the best tracks on one of the best records of the year, Merriweather Post Pavilion. If you don’t own the album, stop reading now and go and buy it. The real challenge for Animal Collective now is to make the single worth getting as well.

Album: Parliament of Owls – Crow

As the achingly beautiful strings of the intro to Parliament of Owls’ debut Crow swelled beneath the singing of birds and a David Attenborough-like voice began to speak, I was stunned into awed silence. Any looming dread about having to review a two-disc album disappeared in one magnificent surge of music and, as commanded by the voiceover, all I could do was “wait and listen for the first songs to begin”.

Album: Caroline Weeks – Songs for Edna

Caroline Weeks (multi-instrumentalist from Bat for Lashes) presents her solo debut in tribute to poet Edna St. Vincent. Which for starters may I just say- feels incredibly refreshing. Not to have a ‘self titled’ album with narcissistic tales of a tortured band member previously in the shadows. Caroline has put nine of Edna’s poems to music with a simple backdrop of finger picked guitar loveliness. Simplicity is the running theme here, with only the odd flute and bell making a cameo with her voice and guitar double act. She eases you into her world gently with ‘See where capella with her golden kids’ and takes you on a slow boat ride through Edna’s works.

Album: Matt & Kim – Grand [sampler]

There’s something in the water in Brooklyn that makes it churn out the coolest of cool bands- Grizzly Bear, Vivian Girls, Bear Hands to name but three, with Matt and Kim’s superbly simple and imperfect DIY indie somewhere amongst all those. And this sampler of Matt and Kim’s second album, Grand, is as bare-boned and rough around the edges as you could wish for, or very Brooklyn.

Album: Iron & Wine — Around The Well

The long awaited Around The Well is split into two halves, the first a soft collection of home recordings, the second a spruced up smattering of studio work. Disc one is reminiscent of 2002’s “The Creek Drank The Cradle” in that it is restrained of detail and relies solely on a minimal amount of musical instruments. This gives it a wholesome, stripped down atmosphere, and seeing as all 11 tracks on the first part are unedited and raw, there is nothing to distract from Iron & Wine’s (Sam Beam’s) genius.

Album: Draw Me Stories – The Unplugged Sessions

Fixing you into a lazy haze-filled melancholy from the get go, Draw Me Stories bring their second album of folk infused ambience, this time with added roots. Following on from their debut The Plugged Sessions, the Welsh troupe unplug and play with their voices and more instrumentation to create a delicious album full of transcendental hymns.

Album: Grant Campbell – Expecting Great Things

Ah, be still my beating heart! If ever someone was to capture the gentle-giant ethos through music, this is it. The third album by husky baritone troubadour Grant Campbell offers a delicacy which manages to penetrate the most heavy hearted amongst us, and leave a mass of quivering wrecks in its wake.

Album: Rachel Harrington – City of Refuge

Listening to Rachel Harrington sing tales from her second album, City of Refuge, is akin to being sat in front of the fire by your great aunt Bess and told the stories that made her a woman in a time when wagons rolled and the fiddle and the banjo were played without a hint of retro irony.

Album: Black Moth Super Rainbow – Eating Us

Building up layers of synthesiser and creating an engagingly ethereal – by which I mean otherworldly but without being atmospheric like Sigur Rós – sound, Black Moth Super Rainbow are as unexpected as their name.

Album: Fanfarlo – Reservoir

London via Sweden’s Fanfarlo have been steadily bringing out a single a year for around three years now. Their debut album, Reservoir, has finally been unleashed and as expected, it has been more than worth the wait.