Album Review: Murder Ballads – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Back in 1996, the legendary Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds released yet another masterfully dark album: Murder Ballads. Drawing on a musical tradition that stretches back as far as the mid-17th Century, a collection of ten songs, some traditional and some composed originally by Cave, paint a ghastly picture of the potential violence and…

Live Review – Darlingside at The Courtyard Theatre

The Bostonian quartet Darlingside cast a spell over the crowded basement of the Courtyard Theatre in Shoreditch. Every element of their performance contributed to this, from the charming, funny patter between songs to the use of one old-school microphone in the middle, around which they all crowded. From the beginning, the audience was treated to…

Album Review: Ruins – First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit is comprised of the Swedish sisters Johanna and Klara S√∂derberg, who have been releasing albums since their debut in 2008, entitled Drunken Trees. They had already gained considerable attention the year before, however, when their self-made song Tangerine was put on the radio and voted one of the best summer songs of…

Album Review: Gentle Spirit by Jonathan Wilson

From the unassumingly-named Jonathan Wilson, the 2011 album Gentle Spirit is a languishing, mind-expanding masterpiece. With only 13 tracks, it is almost a ninety-minute listen: Wilson is not in a rush. The unhurried air of the music is audible throughout, with long, experimental introductions (such as in Desert Raven and Valley of the Silver Moon)…

EP Review: ‘Love Your Self’ by James Rivers Duff

From British guitarist, singer and composer James Rivers Duff, comes Love Your Self, a gentle five-tracked EP expressing personal reflections on life, love and death. Whilst at first listen the tracks might sound somewhat conventional, the way in which Duff is clearly speaking from the heart marks it out as a truly personal project. This…

Album Review: Fletcher Moss Park – Matthew Halsall

Fletcher Moss Park¬†– Matthew Halsall (2012, Gondwana Records) This album is best described in my mind as memory jazz. It is characterised by a tender nostalgia, and never fails to communicate an innocent closeness to me. The trumpet playing has been described elsewhere as passive and tentative, but I think these descriptions miss the point…