Jessie Ware, Tough Love (PMR Records/Island) ****

York Press:

2:51pm Thursday 30th October 2014

JESSIE Ware has had an interesting year, she says, one where she became engaged and had “all these new experiences”.

John Mellencamp, Plain Spoken (Republic) ****

York Press: CD reviews - zxc

2:49pm Thursday 30th October 2014

PRODUCED by T Bone Burnett, this 10-track outing is as unadorned as its title suggests.

Erasure, Violet Flame (Mute) ***

York Press: Erasure

2:48pm Thursday 30th October 2014

GIVEN the huge commercial success of Erasure and their vast back catalogue of hit singles, it is astonishing how few main stream artists have covered songs written by Vince Clarke and Andy Bell.

Billy Idol, Kings And Queens Of The Underground (BFI Records/ Kobalt) ***

York Press: CD reviews - zxc

2:47pm Thursday 30th October 2014

BILLY idol’s Dancing With Myself is among the must-read autobiographies of this season.

Craig Armstrong. It’s Nearly Tomorrow (BMG/Chrysalis) ***

York Press: CD reviews - zxc

2:44pm Thursday 30th October 2014

HIS roots may still be in Glasgow, but Craig Armstrong’s music has always marked him out as a man of the world.

She Keeps Bees, Eight Houses (BB*/Island) ****

York Press: CD reviews - zxc

2:36pm Thursday 30th October 2014

 BEGINNING in the style of the Twin Peaks theme, the new album from this US two-piece is a mellow collection, interspersed with bursts of musical darkness.

Prince, Art Official Age *** and Plectrumelectrum *** (Warner Bros)

York Press:

3:05pm Thursday 23rd October 2014

NOW reconciled with his original record label, Prince is still in search of his songwriting mojo, one of the early casualties in the original falling out (his name was since recovered).

Andy Burrows, Fall Together Again (Play It Again Sam) **

York Press: CD reviews - zxc

3:04pm Thursday 23rd October 2014

FALL Together Again is Andy Burrows’ tenth album, when you add in his drumming days in Razorlight, his work with We Are Scientists, his sublime Smith & Burrows Christmas album and his soundtrack for The Snowman And The Snowdog with Ilan Eshkeri.

Stevie Nicks, 24 Karat Gold: Songs From the Vault (Warner Bros) ***

York Press: CD reviews - zxc

3:04pm Thursday 23rd October 2014

IF ANYONE is the epitome of the beautiful and the damned world of southern California in the 1980s, it is Stevie Nicks.

We Were Promised Jetpacks, Unravelling (FatCat Records) ****

York Press: CD reviews - zxc

3:03pm Thursday 23rd October 2014

THE third album by the Scottish rockers We Were Promised Jetpacks builds on their already sturdy catalogue.

Jessie J, Sweet Talker (Island/Lava/Republic Records) ***

York Press: CD reviews - zxc

3:02pm Thursday 23rd October 2014

WHAT an ironic title. Responding as to why she decided to relocate from London to Los Angeles, Jessie J is quoted: “In America they see me as a singer, whereas here I feel that people don’t appreciate my voice.”

Inspiral Carpets (Cherry Red) ***

York Press: CD reviews - zxc

3:01pm Thursday 23rd October 2014

IN THE late 80s this band was a leading light in the Madchester movement.

Lucinda Williams, Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone (Highway 20 Records/Thirty Tigers) ****; Marianne Faithfull, Give My Love To London (Dramatico) ***

York Press:

2:13pm Thursday 16th October 2014

ON the day of cult folk queen Vashti Bunyan’s concert at The Band Room, Low Mill, last Saturday, one family’s discussion involved a teenage contribution along the lines of “no one old should write songs”.

Johnny Marr, Playland (Warners) ****

York Press: CD reviews - zxc

2:09pm Thursday 16th October 2014

ONCE voted NME’s Godlike Genius, former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr has a lot to live up to.

Jackson Browne, Standing In The Breach (Inside recordings) ***

York Press: CD reviews - zxc

2:08pm Thursday 16th October 2014

AMERICAN troubadour and chronicler of that nation’s current state – that’s how Jackson Browne sounds on his 14th studio album.

Gerard Way, Hesistant Alien (Warner Bros) ***

York Press: CD reviews - zxc

2:06pm Thursday 16th October 2014

BETTER known for his stint in charge of the emo-band My Chemical Romance, Gerard Way steps out into the solo sphere with his debut album.

Jennifer Hudson, JHUD (RCA) *****

York Press: CD reviews - zxc

2:05pm Thursday 16th October 2014

FIFTY years from now, music critics will cite Jennifer Hudson as one of the great soul voices of all-time, up there with Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan and Whitney Houston.

Preview: Public Service Broadcasting album is a journey of space race story

York Press: Public service broadcasting (9232809)

2:04pm Thursday 16th October 2014

PUBLIC Service Broadcasting are to release their second album, The Race For Space, on February 23 next year on Test Card Recordings.

Eyeshutight, Resonance (Hungry Bear Records)

York Press: CD reviews - zxc

2:22pm Thursday 16th October 2014

RESONANCE is the third studio album from Eyeshutight and in terms of production, presentation and execution, their most polished offering.

Oasis, (What’s The Story) Morning Glory (Big Brother Recordings) *****

York Press: (11231560)

3:09pm Thursday 9th October 2014

Oasis, (What’s The Story) Morning Glory (Big Brother Recordings) *****

ABBA, Live At Wembley (Polar Music) *****

York Press: CD reviews - zxc

3:02pm Thursday 9th October 2014

YOU would have thought that the critical and commercial phenomenon of the recent Kate Bush residency in Hammersmith may have sown a few seeds of temptation for ABBA to reform. But no, even an offer of a $1billion payday couldn’t entice the Swedish super-group back on the road.

Claudia Brucken, Where Else (Cherry Red Records) **

York Press: CD reviews - zxc

3:01pm Thursday 9th October 2014

MODERN life likes the template, a means of uniformity, a way of degrading the unpredictable, a subjugation of creativity and all adding up to greyer days.

Jamie T, Carry On The Grudge (Virgin EMI) ****

York Press: CD reviews - zxc

3:00pm Thursday 9th October 2014

FOR much of the past five years, spiky Wimbledon singer-songwriter Jamie Treays has been missing, presumed … well, nobody really seemed to know what to presume.

John Wilson Orchestra, Cole Porter in Hollywood. (Warner Classic) *****

York Press: CD reviews - zxc

2:59pm Thursday 9th October 2014

WHAT’S not to like here? Songs by perhaps the wittiest composer in history, played by one of the most celebrated orchestras on earth – to say this is a virtuoso performance is an understatement.

Vashti Bunyan, Heartleap (FatCat Records) ****

York Press: CD reviews - zxc

2:58pm Thursday 9th October 2014

NEXT she plans to write her life story, of how 35 years went by between her cult 1970 debut album, Just Another Diamond Day, in her mystic days on a Scottish hippy commune, and its belated follow-up, 2005’s Lookaftering.

alt-J, This This Is All Yours (Infectious) ***

York Press: (10995753)

3:47pm Thursday 2nd October 2014

ALT-J’S journey is a bit like the story of the man who staggers, bloodied, from a wrecked car and, when somebody asks him what happened, replies: “I don’t know, I just got here myself."

Bonny ‘Prince’ Billy, Singer’s Grave – A Sea Of Tongues (Domino) ***

York Press: CD reviews - zxc

3:42pm Thursday 2nd October 2014

THE MOST original of the Americana crop, Bonny Prince Billy is metamorphosing into a sexually deviant sprite with a wicked turn of phrase.

The Script, No Sound Without Silence (Columbia Records) **

York Press: CD reviews - zxc

3:41pm Thursday 2nd October 2014

THIS buoyant offering from the Dublin three-piece maintains one pace throughout 11 songs.

Robin Gibb, 50 St Catherine’s Drive (Rhino/ Warner) ****

York Press: CD reviews - zxc

3:40pm Thursday 2nd October 2014

NAMED after the address of Robin Gibb’s first home in Douglas on the Isle of Man, the ninth and final solo album from the former Bee Gee is finally available.

Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, Cheek To Cheek (Polydor) ****

York Press: CD reviews - zxc

3:39pm Thursday 2nd October 2014

IT’S a stunt pairing of an octogenarian crooner and meat dress-wearing androgynous pop icon. But is that a bad thing? Well, no. Not really. Turns out for all her headline-grabbing headwear, Gaga can really sing.

The Barr Brothers, Sleeping Operator. (Secret City Records) ***

York Press: CD reviews - zxc

3:37pm Thursday 2nd October 2014

ACCORDING to the blurb, this four-piece hails from Montreal, which is wrong on two counts. Firstly, harpist Sarah Pagé is clearly neither a Barr nor a brother; secondly Brad and Andrew, who are both Barrs and brothers, are from Massachusetts.

U2, Songs Of Innocence (iTunes now; Island Records, October 13) *

York Press:

2:56pm Thursday 18th September 2014

REMEMBER that sense of excitement all U2 devotees felt on hearing All That You Can’t Leave Behind for the first time, as it firmly signalled a return to form for their favourite band at the start of the millennium.

Robert Plant, Lullaby and … The Ceaseless Roar (Nonesuch/ East West Records) *****

York Press: CD reviews - zxc

2:54pm Thursday 18th September 2014

ROBERT Plant follows a new musical path with each new album. His latest is no exception.

The Kooks, Listen (Virgin) ****

York Press: CD reviews - zxc

2:54pm Thursday 18th September 2014

GOSPEL singers? Keyboard solos? Is this really The Kooks, the darlings of the indie scene?

Jimi Hendrix, The Cry Of Love (Experience Hendrix and Legacy Recordings) ***; Jimi Hendrix, Rainbow Bridge (Experience Hendrix and Legacy Recordings) ****

York Press: CD reviews - zxc

2:53pm Thursday 18th September 2014

MORE Jimi Hendrix re-releases? Can there be anything left to reissue? Well, for newer Hendrix fans, these two posthumous albums have long been out of print.

Pulled Apart By Horses, Blood (Sony Music) **

York Press: CD reviews - zxc

2:52pm Thursday 18th September 2014

THERE is a raw energy to Pulled Apart By Horses and it’s always nice to hear a Yorkshire band coming through.

Ryan Adams, Ryan Adams (Paxam Records/Sony Music) ***

York Press: CD reviews - zxc

2:51pm Thursday 18th September 2014

LEAVING behind the Americana folk-rock of 2011’s Ashes & Fire, this is Ryan Adams in classic American songwriter mode.

Smokey Robinson, Smokey And Friends (Decca) ****

York Press:

12:23pm Thursday 11th September 2014

THE concept of revisiting your greatest hits with a selection of A-List celebrity guests has worked a treat for the likes of Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Charles Aznavour and Tammy Wynette. So being the writer of so many classic pop songs, it was almost inevitable that Mr Robinson would want to follow this well-travelled route.

Royal Blood, Royal Blood (Warner Bros Records) ***

York Press: CD reviews - zxc

12:22pm Thursday 11th September 2014

IF, LIKE me, you spend a lot of time in your car listening to the radio then you may have noticed that in between a Rihanna, David Guetta or Rita Ora song there is an explosive two piece from West Sussex threatening to burst out of the speakers.

Peggy Seeger, Everything Changes (Signet Music) ****

York Press: CD reviews - zxc

12:20pm Thursday 11th September 2014

PUSHING 80 she may be, but Peggy Seeger remains a singer-songwriter of force, subtlety and charm. These are, by Peggy’s own reckoning, dark songs – “not black but deep chocolate with burgundy wine”.

Paul McLinden, Head Happy (OneInchPunch) ***

York Press: CD reviews - zxc

12:19pm Thursday 11th September 2014

SCOTTISH independence is all the rage and here’s an album from a Scot who is likely to carve out a musical identity of his own on the evidence of his debut album.

Cold Specks, Neuroplasticity (Mute Records) ****

York Press: CD reviews - zxc

12:18pm Thursday 11th September 2014

THE latest album from Canadian singer-songwriter is a fascinating piece, with plenty to shout about. Al Spx’s vocals are breathy and deep, veering in style between Adele, Morcheeba’s Skye Edwards, and Alison Goldfrapp.

Steven James Adams, House Music (The State51 Conspiracy) ****

York Press: (10225182)

12:17pm Thursday 11th September 2014

STEVEN James Adams should have a place in your house already from his days of bittersweet country-blues, scorched soul melodies and frustrated, cussedly witty tales of hope, heartbreak and heartache in The Broken Family Band and Singing Adams.

Review: Kate Rusby, Ghost (Pure Records) ***

York Press: (9994939)

3:59pm Thursday 4th September 2014

APTLY for a record called Ghost, Barnsley folk song thrush Kate Rusby's new album has rather ghosted in under the radar.

Dan Michaelson And The Coastguards (The State 51 Conspiracy) ****

York Press: CD reviews - zxc

4:00pm Thursday 4th September 2014

YOU don’t hear a voice like this very often. The striking sound that emerges from Dan Michaelson is somewhere between a groan and a croon – a ‘groon’ perhaps; so deep it almost cracks.

The Magic Numbers, Alias (Caroline International ) ****

York Press: CD reviews - zxc

3:59pm Thursday 4th September 2014

Prolific is not exactly a term you’d apply to The Magic Numbers. Having hit the public consciousness with their 2005 hit Love Me Like You, they walked off Top of the Pops after getting the hump with Richard Bacon, and then pretty much walked off full stop.

Alarms In The Heart, Dry The River (Transgressive Records) ****

York Press: CD reviews - zxc

3:58pm Thursday 4th September 2014

LONDON four piece Dry The River’s second album is a great example of producers helping shape a record, but no worse for that.

Twin Atlantic, Great Divide, (Red Bull) **

York Press: CD reviews - zxc

3:57pm Thursday 4th September 2014

BIFFY CLYRO clones Twin Atlantic are suffering from an identity crisis. Great Divide, the Scottish four-piece’s third studio record, continues their surge into the public consciousness – reaching number six in the album charts – but fails to set the pulse racing.

Los de Abajo, Mariachi Beat (Wrass Records) ****

York Press: CD reviews - zxc

3:56pm Thursday 4th September 2014

THERE can’t be many groups named after Chilean football hooligans, especially in Mexico. And while a good few bands in Mexico City play ska, none do it quite like Los de Abajo. Fortunately Talking Heads’ David Byrne had the good sense to sign the band on his label, dubbing the music salsa punk.

Courteeners, Concrete Love (PIAS Cooperative) ****

York Press:

3:57pm Thursday 28th August 2014

THERE is a claim I have yet to get in recent popular music. The pop puzzle teasing the Kelly grey matter is how American band The Killers were greeted and feted as the natural successors to Manchester 90s marvels New Order.


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