albums

The quiet radicalism of the Chieftains

27 November 2021 9:00 am

Pop quiz time: which act was named Melody MakerGroup of the Year in 1975? The answer is not, as you…

It was cheap schlock then, and it's expensive schlock now: Adele's 30 reviewed

27 November 2021 9:00 am

Grade: C The problem I have is that I thought she was pretty awful before — when she was just…

Decent dream pop: Beach House’s Once Twice Melody reviewed

20 November 2021 9:00 am

Grade: B+ Everything these days devolves to prog — and not always very good prog. Where once synths were vastly…

Oh dear, Abba’s new album is a bit of a dog: Voyage reviewed

6 November 2021 9:00 am

Time has been very kind to Abba. No one back in the 1970s thought of them as geniuses. But they've even lost the talent for writing memorable tunes

The death of the live album

23 October 2021 9:00 am

Next week The The release The Comeback Special, a 24-track live album documenting the band’s concert at the Royal Albert…

The best recordings of the Goldberg Variations

2 October 2021 9:00 am

I sometimes think the classical record industry would collapse if it weren’t for the Goldberg Variations. Every month brings more…

Hugely unmemorable: Billie Eilish's Happier Than Ever reviewed

14 August 2021 9:00 am

Grade: C+ Time to get the razor out again — Billie’s back. The slurred and affected can’t-be-arsed-to-get-out-of-bed vocals. The relentless,…

When musical collaborations go right – and when they go horribly wrong

7 August 2021 9:00 am

Big Red Machine release their second album later this month. It’s a fine name for ten tonnes of agricultural apparatus…

Is there anyone more irritating and stupid than Bobby Gillespie?

10 July 2021 9:00 am

Grade: B– Is there anyone in rock music more irritating and stupid than Bobby Gillespie? The rawk’n’roll leather-jacketed self-mythologiser. The…

Whiny, polite and beautiful: Kings of Convenience's Peace or Love reviewed

3 July 2021 9:00 am

Grade: A– The problem with Norwegians is that they are so relentlessly, mind-numbingly pleasant. Well, OK, not Knut Hamsun or…

How Trojan Records conquered the world

19 June 2021 9:00 am

When Trojan Records attempted to break into the United States music market in the early 1970s, it hit an insurmountable…

A new recording throws fresh light on Mahler's puzzling Tenth Symphony

12 June 2021 9:00 am

There are many Symphonies No. 10 by Gustav Mahler, or none. The situation is rare, if not unique, in the…

'Germans thought we couldn't play': Irmin Schmidt, of Krautrock pioneers Can, interviewed

5 June 2021 9:00 am

Krautrock pioneer Irmin Schmidt talks to Graeme Thomson about taking risks, playing badly and ignoring the Brits

‘My voice is a curse’: Gary Numan interviewed

29 May 2021 9:00 am

Steve Morris talks to Gary Numan about luck, plane-spotting and Asperger’s

The Byrds without the drugs: Teenage Fanclub's Endless Arcade reviewed

22 May 2021 9:00 am

Grade: B– Advancing age has smoothed the edges of Bellshill’s finest lads, once — back in the early 1990s —…

‘I’m not interested in moral purity’: St Vincent interviewed

15 May 2021 9:00 am

Michael Hann talks to St Vincent about Sheena Easton, Stalin and performing in five-inch heels

Josquin changed musical history – why don't we hear more of him?

8 May 2021 9:00 am

Stepping into the Sistine Chapel, the choir loft is probably the last thing you’d notice. ‘Loft’ is, frankly, a stretch…

Tom Jones is as nuanced a vocalist as Ian Paisley

8 May 2021 9:00 am

Grade: C Revisionism has been extraordinarily kind to Tom Jones, ever since he barked his way through Prince’s ‘Kiss’ with…

Demi Lovato makes Taylor Swift resemble Dostoevsky

17 April 2021 9:00 am

Grade: Z If you wish to experience the full hideousness of Now, of our current age, condensed into one awful…

In Chet Baker's albums you can hear America’s romantic self-image curdling

6 March 2021 9:00 am

The thing to remember about Chet Baker, an old acquaintance says of the errant jazz musician in Deep In A…

'I like upsetting people': Steven Wilson interviewed

27 February 2021 9:00 am

Michael Hann talks to the cult rock star Steven Wilson about why it’s harder to write a pop song than prog

The two composers who defined British cinema also wrote inspired operas

20 February 2021 9:00 am

It’s my new lockdown ritual. Switch on the telly, cue up the menu and scroll down to where the vintage…

From bad joke to 21st-century classic: the best recordings of Korngold’s Violin Concerto

13 February 2021 9:00 am

Erich Korngold was what you might call an early adopter. As a child prodigy in Habsburg Vienna, he’d astonished the…

A criminally underrated songwriter: Matthew Sweet’s Catspaw reviewed

6 February 2021 9:00 am

Grade: A– The early 1990s were a lovely time for rock music: Beck, Sparklehorse, Sugar, Green on Red and Royal…

Proudly ridiculous and wholly glorious: KLF's Solid State Logik reviewed

30 January 2021 9:00 am

Grade: A What a miracle the KLF were: an elaborate practical joke at the expense of the music industry, seemingly…