New For 2019

  Last Live in 2018

  My Best Albums 2018

  Piano Week Liverpool

  Brexit - Now We Know

  Download 2019 First Bands

  50th Anniversary White Album

  Christine and The Queens Tour

  Karine Polwart Trio Live

  Tip For The Top: Shred Kelly

  The Dangers Ahead

  Spear Of Destiny Live

  Jazz On A Summer’s Day 1958

  Benjamin Folke Thomas Live

  Chilly Gonzales Live

  Let The People Decide

  The Secrets of Piano Solo-III

  Gomez Live in Manchester

  Madeleine Peyroux Tour & New LP

  John Lennon Interview

  The Edwin Hawkins Singers

  Thelonious Monk Tapes Emerge

  Anna Burch Live

  My 100 Greatest Albums

  Road To Nowhere - Brexit

  Tom Baxter’s 2018 LP and Tour

  Ray LaMontagne Live

  Satriani’s G3 Live

  Frank Turner LP, Tour & Single

  Josh Rouse New LP & UK Tour

  Two New Must-Have Albums

  Stick In The Wheel Live

  Halo Maud, Baxter Dury Live

  Matthew Logan Vasquez Live

  The Barr Brothers Live

  Best New Album Reviews

  Glen Hansard Album Review

  My Best Albums of 2017

  Emily Barker Live in Manchester

  Katey Brooks New Single/Album

  Jim White Live in Manchester

  Album Of The Year?

  Tori Amos Live

  Bush & RavenEye Live

  Nitin Sawhney New Live LP

  Jeff Lynne’s ELO Live CD/DVD

  Grandaddy Live

  George Vjestica’s Bandante

  Laura Marling Live

  Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes

  Martha Wainwright Live

  A Thousand Horses Live

  Rachael Yamagata Live

  Jimmy Eat World Live

  Swans Live in Manchester

  Nick Cave With Feeling

  Ben Folds & yMusic Live

  Dan Patlansky Live Blues

  Beverley Knight Live

  Wolfmother Live

  Ludovico Einaudi Live

  Barry Adamson Live Manchester

  Jess Glynne Live

  The Temperance Movement Live

  Courtney Barnett Live

  Mercury Rev Live


New For 2019

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The Vagabonds V. Blue Elan Records

“We’re excited to be teaming up with Blue Elan Records for our new album V, which represents the band’s fifth record. We’ve put in ten years of hard work on the road and in the studio to get to this point and we’re ready to work even harder now to achieve our new goals with the label.” - Danny Allen (Vagabonds lead singer)

The band started up in 2009 by playing the college circuit across the South Eastern United States. Fronted by lead vocalist and songwriter Daniel Allen with Richard Forehand (lead guitar, vocals), Paul Bruens (bass), Beau Cooper (keyboards, vocals) and Brian Harris (drums). The band has grown organically over the years through its growing fan base and single hits including ‘Georgia Fire’ and ‘American Eyes’. The band’s music is an eclectic mix of southern rock, country and a strong dose of pop sensibility.

V is is beautifully produced album exemplified by its explosive opening salvo, ‘Partyin’ With Strangers’. I’m struck by the strong melody, powerful rock guitar riffs, and a voice which is confident and passionate. Song-writing excellence  is, for any musical act today, key and in Danny Allen the band has it in spades. His lyrics that are simple and intelligent with messages that can relate to the listener - “Last night I wrote a verse to a song/But this morning it was gone/When I start to think about it you and that verse are the same/You’re both gone and damn it’s a shame…”

So a strong opening gambit followed by a slower rocker called ‘Generation Of Happiness’ with a dominant underlying drum rhythm and slightly darker vibe. Melody strength is maintained while the song and vocal reminds me of some of Springsteen performing his homespun tales. Bittersweet ‘I Ain’t Having It’ slows the pace even further while adding some telling keyboard moments over a clattering bass rhythm.  I love the diversity of pace and vibe here. Take the next song ‘When The Smoke Clears’ which is an achingly beautiful and emotional love song - “Put it down to the way your hair falls/Put it down to the things that I can’t explain/Put it down to the sound of my name when you call/Put it down to fate/… When the smoke clears up and the dust settles down/I’ll be right here I’ll still be around...”

‘Traveling Man’ is a classic country rock song with its deep bass guitar backdrop and another storming vocal. Listening to this record I can feel and hear the band’s experience, character and integrity shining through, and I have to say I am moved by it. I also cannot wait to see the band perform live over here in the UK. If you’re into this musical genre then I doubt you’ll hear better in 2019. And if you’re not then this record might well convince you…

4/5

liminanas-1

The Liminanas I’VE GOT TROUBLE IN MIND VOL. 2 (7′ AND RARE STUFF 2015/20180). Under exclusive licence from Lionel Liminana to Because Music

One of France’s most beloved pop music treasures, The Liminanas are Marie (drums, vocal) and Lionel Liminanas (guitar, bass, keyboards, vocal). Hailing from Perpignan, the duo straddles the boundary between psych, shoegaze, and ye-ye. Reverb-laden hooks are combined at times with noisy distortion, fronted by effortlessly cool vocals reminiscent of Serge Gainsbourg and Brigit Bardot the duo is quintessentially French. The pair have produced records in their own garage for the last ten years, released their first rarities collection in 2014. This follow-up edition was released in December 2018.

What is old is new again … Making new things out of old things ius an act of alchemy. It’s very complicated. You take rusted lead and transform it into sparkling gold… The Velvet Underground, The Stooges, The Standells, Chocolate Watchband, Billy Childish and other garage heroes; Ennio Morricone, John Barry and the 1960s Italian songs; Can, Neu! and all the Teutonic knights of motoric groove; The Cramps, Nick Cave, Gainsbourg and tonic psych rock: Lionel and Marie know them all by heart and worship them. They drink from that well and, after a good kneading and pounding, they make something else out of it.

We don’t do revivalism. In fact some purists are accusing us of selling out, which is a good sign.” - Lionel Liminanas

www.theliminanas.com

In recent years French pop music has begun to infiltrate the UK market, and in the case of certain artists, like Christine And The Queens, in a very substantial way. They offer something different, highly original and very distinctive. And that is precisely what we have here. The diversity of material is mind-boggling and never disappoints. Around each corner is something different. Opener ‘The Mirror’ is an understated and gentle talking song featuring the voice of Kirk Lake, a strummed guitar with subtle and distant backing vocals. One is forced to sit up and listen! This is followed by the echoed pop of ‘Two Sisters’ featuring the voice of Anton Newcombe i a song that sounds like a messed-up version of something from the Pet Shop Boys. Interesting! ‘Maria’s Theme’ is firmly in Morricone territory but slower and more subtle - and wonderful.

‘La Cavalerie’ is pretty and pure French pop with Lionel featuring in a song that meanders quickly along with a more serious military drum backdrop. It’s a unique combo and another musical winner. The band’s interpretation of The Lords of the New Church’s ‘Russian Roulette’ goes firmly down the rock route with solid guitar riff, rasping drum rhythm leading it’s mid-pace and relentless travel. Every turn of the page here provides something different and fascinating in its seventeen tracks spread over fifty-five minutes. Highly recommended and especially for those who (like me) have become a tad bored with what’s been on offer over the recent past.

4/5

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