One reason I like the Guardian and the Telegraph is they both have music critics good enough to make you want to hear what they are writing about – or make up your mind not to bother. 

For some examples …

 Maddy Costa Gdn 24.10.13 on Yet That’s What Happens, by Chas & Dave:

“It’s difficult to countenance the idea that they might have made an intricately detailed album whose chief characteristics are delicacy and grace. Yet their first new recording in 18 years is just that.

“Beneath that bluff, good ol’ boys geniality is something more complex.

“The musicianship …  is fleet, subtle and attractively layered. Threading through the oompah beat of Railroad Bill are scratchy clarinet and Appalachian banjo; a violin dances in the depths of Lonnie D, slowly rising to break the surface with triple somersaults. Martin Taylor’s guitar in I Can’t Give You Anything But Love is ineffably lovely – unlike the piano solos, from Jools Holland and Hugh Laurie, that end proceedings with a clump.”

YouTube has a clip of the duo doing Railroad Bill on Later With Jools Holland –

OK. Sold.

Alexis Petridis, same paper, on Reflektor, by Arcade Fire:

“It wants to be a grandiose statement befitting a band who fill stadiums and win Grammys and debut at No 1: the kind of record people don’t just play from beginning to end, but pore over, like the famous double albums of the 60s and 70s. Instead, it sounds like the work of a band that have plenty of good ideas, but increasingly can’t tell them from their bad ones – or won’t be told.

Sit through an ad for hair-colouring and you can hear the title track at

With you, Alexis, although I’ve now heard so much about this band I must yet try a little harder. 

Caroline Sullivan, same paper, reviewing a new album, Pure Heroine, by 16-yr-old New Zealander “Lorde:

“Royals, her multi-platinum single, packs more finger-clicking disenchantment into three minutes than Lana del Rey managed in an entire album.”

Hear what she meant at

I did but wasn’t convinced.

Caro Sullivan also said  This Is What I Do by Boy George sounded like the “comeback of the year”. She referred us to the opening track, King Of Everything, at

Again, I was unmoved. 

David Renshaw in Gdn 25.10.13 on dance hit Wake Me Up:

“a mixture of boshing dance beats and foot-stompin country” by Swedish DJ-producer Avicii …”

Hear it at

I thought it was okay but I didn’t need to possess it.


DJ Dave Berry deliberately stirred up a lot of controversy via the Telegraph by naming “10 albums every man should own” See the original article, with links to samples, at

Albums were:

1) Oasis – What’s The Story Morning Glory.

I’ve got The Beatles; don’t need Oasis.

2) Ed Sheeran’s debut album.

Unconvinced so far but not ruling him out.

3) Pulp Fiction.

Thumbs up to that one.

4) Best Of John  Lee Hooker.

Fair enough.

5) Beatles – Sergeant Pepper’s.

Get the Beatles Number Ones collection instead.

6) Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am …

Sample reminds me I should know more about the Monkeys. But then, I had the Beatles.

7) Rocky IV Soundtrack.

Actually, I probably should have it.

8) Dummy by Portishead.

Once had it; lost it; ought really to get it again but basically can’t be arsed.

9) Kings of Leon – Youth & Young Manhood.

Wish I did have it.

10) The Who – Quadrophenia.

Certainly it was essential once. But still?


Helen Brown, Teleg, on Katie Perry’s new album, Roar:

“She sounds like a woman, and an artist, who’s finally found herself.”

Hear the title track at

I hear X-Factor production and turn off.


Observer Review reported on an  interview with hip-hop star Amplify Dot in Breakfast Club Café, Clapham:

“When the reggae track Police & Thieves comes on, she yells: ‘This tuuuune! This place got the best music.”

Police & Thieves by Junior Murvin, produced by Lee Perry in 1976, can be found on YouTube at

Great tune.


Miranda Sawyer, Observer, 20.10.13 …

“Sometimes you can feel as though nothing will ever change, that boring and repetitive pornified versions of sex roles are all pop music has to offer. In case you’re feeling like that, may I recommend Goldfrapp’s live version of Annabel, as performed for 6 Music’s excellent Live At Maida Vale series.”

Find it at

I’m not moved much but Goldfrapp is always more interesting than I expect.


Ben Thompson, in Seven Mag, of Sunday Teleg 29.9.13, wrote a persuasive recommendation for Nobody Knows, second album by talent-show discovery Willis Earl Beal …

“putting his increasingly brazen musicality to inspired use in the creation of one of the most creepily crepuscular recordings it has ever been my pleasure to be slightly unnerved by”.

You can hear a couple of samples at

And I’d like to hear more.


Approving Dave Simpson review of Graham Parker & The Rumour comeback, Gdn 24.10.13, gave particular mention to “Long Emotional Ride – as superb a song as he has written”.

Hear it at

I agree Parker is sometimes very good; not sure this is the prime example.


More jamboree bags like this to follow, no doubt.



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