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Folk / Country / Singer-songwriter

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Jessica Bailiff
At The Down-Turned Jagged Rim Of The Sky

Well, if there's a label you can trust to be honest in their press releases it is the quite wonderful Kranky, one of the few internationally renowned labels of great stature that commands respect through releasing fantastic, exciting music. They'r...view item »


Benoit Pioulard
Hymnal

I have only a small number of things in common with our lord, our leader, our saviour Philip Leigh and one is an absolute adoration of a previous Benoit Pioulard album ‘Lasted’ which I said way back in 2010 was “where wistful songwriting meets evocative warped ‘70s Polaroid nos...view item »


Joanna Newsom
Ys

It must being hard being Joanna Newsom - I mean you try playing the harp, squeaking and being so goddamn kooky all the time. After reading ecstatic reviews in every publication from 'Heron Fanciers Monthly' to 'Chainsawing Your Face Right Off Quarterly', I decided to check this record out. What I heard astonished me but possibly not in the way y...view item »


Lee Hazlewood
Trouble Is A Lonesome Town

Remastered for your listening pleasure in the original mono, Trouble is a Lonesome Town was moustachioed baritone Lee Hazlewood's first ever album. Originally released in 1963, this double album features 15 whole bonus tracks and a very informative booklet. A must for anyone who loves cowboys and stories and amusing fac...view item »


Dark Dark Dark
Who Needs Who

Melodic started off as a dancey type label for the post-Fourtet brand of backpack knob twiddlers but you could say that these days their roster is pretty much ‘owt.  The press for ...view item »


Chelsea Wolfe
Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs

Here we get to indulge in an atmosphere-drenched album of dusky American chamber-folk from a woman who is apparently a heavier sounding proposition on her previous recordings. I've not heard them therefore this disc will have to stand on its own merits. She has a lovely regret-tinged voic...view item »


Josh Ritter
The Beast In Its Tracks



AEDI
Ha Ta Ka Pa

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Woodpigeon
Thumbtacks And Glue



Rio En Medio
Peace Sequence

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Various
Reason To Believe - The Songs Of Tim Hardin

During a recent crisis, I drove across the pennines with Tim Hardin’s ‘Hang Onto A Dream-  The Verve Recordings’ on repeat. Partly as I just couldn’t be bothered to change the CD and partly because it’s bloody amazing. We have an age range of almost 20 years here at the towers and yet not one person apart from ...view item »


Tom Morgan
Orange Syringe

Tom Morgan is a songwriter of some pedigree. His band, Smudge, have countless great indie-pop songs, he has had many of his songs covered by The Lemonheads, and also co-written some with Evan Dando. His most famous song is probably "The Outdoor Type" which has been covered by several acts. His voice has never been his strongest weapon which is p...view item »


Adam Green & Binki Shapiro
Adam Green & Binki Shapiro

What you've got here is two musicians who happen to be good friends who happen to have gone through breakups around the same time...who happened to write an album about their experiences. It's a very atmospheric and emotionally telling ride. The songs lyrically dance around some very personal views that are quality enough to justify this collabo...view item »


Night Beds
Country Sleep

Upon hearing “Faithful Heights”, the a capella opener to “Country Sleep” by Night Beds, AKA Winston Yellen, it reminded me of the faux emotion shown by Conor Oberst in the spoken passage at the start of the Bright Eyes album “I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning” (I do quite like a lot of that album, though...view item »


Josh Rouse
The Happiness Waltz



Lena Hughes
Queen Of The Flat Top Guitar



The Untied Knot
Rien N'Existe

Second album (following debut 'Sketches for a Lost Summer') from The Untied Knot (aka Matt and Nigel). Recorded entirely on multitrack tape and featuring Alison Gregory on cello, the album was funded through the ever-popuar online pledge system. Available on the Sonic Imperfections label on CD or vinyl....view item »


Marcos Valle
Marcos Valle

This 1970 album presented something of a break with most of what Valle had done up to that point. For starters, both the songs and his hair were getting longer, and the dynamic of this unique record resides in the yin-yang between electrified rock-influenced tracks featuring Milton Nascimento's backing band Som Imaginário, and orchestrall...view item »


Marcos Valle
Garra



Edwyn Collins
Understated

As I noted on a previous Edwyn Collins review, it’s very hard to critically assess his music post illness as it’s such a major achievement that he’s actually making music again. The same will be true if (fingers crossed) Vini Reilly recovers ...view item »


The Children’s Hour
SOS JFK

After finding out The Children's Hour opened for Zwan, I immediately explored their self-titled EP. Their first full-length, SOS JFK, is the perfect album for those times when you just need to mellow out, or need good study music. From the amazing harmonies of "Wyoming" to the soft sadness of "Adoption Day", the Children's Hour have this folk ro...view item »
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Chris Darrow
Artist Proof



Matthew E. White
Big Inner

It's a great thing when an album, and an unassuming album at that, opens with a track takes it's time to quietly worm its way into your head and supply you with endless listening pleasure. "One Of These Days" meanders through the speakers gradually unveiling it's sublime melodic quality with the understated yet confident groove of Matthew E. Whi...view item »


Esther Maria
The Abyss

Starting with a slow, swoonsome melodica-led instrumental, this second album from the British born, Denmark based singer songwriter kicks into life with a descending acoustic guitar figure and her impressive voice, an octave-defying thing that swoops in all the right places. It’s hard th...view item »
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Oh Messy Life
The Literature EP



Oh Messy Life
1+1-1=1



Heed The Thunder
All Those Black Years



Wooden Wand
Blood Oaths Of The New Blues



Thingumajigsaw
Misery Together

I really like the idea of this record. The press release describes it as a celebration of “splatter-folk” and an homage “to the films of John Carpenter, Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci and George Romero, and to the writing of Edgar All...view item »


Ben Nash
The Mineral Victim

After a lengthy silence, Chora’s Ben Nash came back recently with an album made entirely on his computer, and now here’s another one which seems to have been made with a combination of computer and guitar, c...view item »
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Inez Lightfoot
Familiars

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Randolph's Leap
Hermit E.P



Serafina Steer
The Moths Are Real

This album has an opening track so good that everyone might as well pack up and go home when it’s finished. It opens with delicate harp and lovely warm bass. The voice emerges through the fog - a beautiful thing - somewhere between Sandy Denny and Nico....view item »


Simon Lord
One

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Tift Merritt
Traveling Alone



Jacob Morris
Moths

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Lucinda Williams / Michael Chapman
Split



Mathew Gray
Romance Is Dead / The Dance



Our Arthur
Humour Me



Azita
Year

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Dawn McCarthy & Bonnie 'Prince' Billy
Christmas Eve Can Kill You

Is it Bonnie or Bonny? Or does it change all the time? I don’t know anymore. This week has been a pain in the tits and I’m unable to do things properly now... Anyway these guys paired up back in De...view item »


Estasy
Wild Songs



Little Annie & Baby Dee
State Of Grace

It's a shame to see Little Annie be so under-known. She's been making great records for decades, sometimes using different names... Annie Anxiety, Little Annie Anxiety, Little Annie Axiety Bandez, etc... Of what I know of her, she started out with a more industrial approach, but with a soft spot for... I don't know what to call it... music hall?...view item »


Joshua James
From The Top Of Willamette Mountain

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Robust Worlds
Emotional Planet

One of the worst sounds in the world is the sound of Vini Reilly singing. The Durutti Column guitarist has a wonderful dexterity on his chosen instrument but over the years insists on ‘singing’ over certain tracks - all but ruining t...view item »
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The Singing Loins
...Here On Earth



Mickey Newbury
Lulled By The Moonlight



Michael Chapman
Pachyderm

I have a feeling our Clint’s a fan of veteran guitar picker Michael Chapman, I’m pretty sure I’ve heard his name mentioned in hushed tones around the office, but this is actually the first time I’ve ever sat down ...view item »


Martha Wainwright
Come Home To Mama



Drop Out Venus
Elastic Teen Rent / I Kill Foxes

Well, this is a pretty confusing 7” and I couldn’t initially tell which of these songs was the A side so I’m starting out here with ‘I Kill Foxes’ which is a crunchy post-grunge song which recalls ‘90s artists like Juliana Hatfield or Tracy Bonham or ...view item »


Bellowhead
Broadside



Paul Levinson
Twice Upon A Rhyme

Here’s an incredibly limited (only 50 copies!) reissue of Paul Levinson’s sought-after pop rarity from 1972, Twice Upon A Rhyme, which comes lovingly packaged in a brand new screenprinted sleeve design, with inserts containing lyrics and further information. Very lovely package....view item »


Daniel Biro
Songs of Refuge



Mumford & Sons
Babel

This album is not bad, but it's not great either...definitely not as good as Sigh No More. The album starts incredibly strong; the first track is probably my favourite off the entire album, but after a few songs it slows down quite a bit and each song starts sounding like the last, and the question, "Is that the same banjo riff I heard in the la...view item »
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John Cale
Shifty Adentures In Nookie Wood

Despite my love of John Cale’s stellar album ‘Paris 1919’, I have never knowingly delved into his varied solo back catalogue for fear of ruining it all for myself. I’ve enjoyed his ...view item »


Reuben Son
Days Gone By

This is a sweet looking 7” on a boutique label called Wagtail. The image we have for this has a nice flower at the side of it. Looks nice doesn’t it? Alas the record doesn’t come with a flower but I think it’...view item »
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Jim Noir
Jimmy's Show



Catherine Irwin
Little Heater



Ray Stinnett
A Fire Somewhere

Don't judge a book by its cover. Or in this case a record. Ray Stinnett's only album "A Fire Somewhere" is a pretty solid singer/songwriter album that has been unearthed by Light In The Attic records and was produced by Booker T. Jones. Stinnett sings his heart out on opener "Salty Haze" followed by "You Make Me Feel" which in places sounds like...view item »


Levek
Look A Little Closer

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Uton
Echoes In The Wonderland

Jani Hirvones has amassed a most impressive catalogue over the past eleven years or so with a mountain of releases on labels such as Digitalis, Celebrate Psi Phenomenon, Sloow Tapes, Students of Decay, ...view item »
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Raymond Byron and the White Freighter
Little Death Shaker

My musical tastes have always been toward the adventurous, I like artists that are not afraid to take chances and twist things up a bit. Raymond Byron is such an artist, his influences are perhaps too numerous to list including everyone from Leonard Cohen to the Drive-By Truckers. Most songs are short and if not catchy, are quite creative. He se...view item »
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Jens Lekman
I Know What Love Isn't

Opening with a godawful piano ‘interlude’ which I wish hadn’t happened, the first main track ‘Erica America’ is a gorgeous slab of yacht rock which sits perfectly between Chris Rea circa ‘On the Beach’ and later period Steely Dan. The arrangements are ...view item »


Carina Round
Tigermending

You guys really need to listen/review this album, it's one of the best Rock/Pop albums I've heard in a while - and Carina's best by a good margin. There's some seriously quality songwriting on display. Track 8 sticks out for me - it begins like an out-of-tune rehearsal but ends up with a glorious finale. Some great vocals throughout too. I s...view item »


Carol Kleyn
Takin' The Time



Dylan Leblanc
Cast The Same Old Shadow

He's got the sophomore slump/blues. Too atmospheric by half. If you were expecting a progression from his first album this one is a step back not forward. Murky production and several songs sound a LOT like licks off the first album. He's got the chops and voice and writing skills--but it's hard to hear 'em through the production. No denying his...view item »


Chris Lee
Bury The Kings

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Lee Hazlewood
A House Safe For Tigers

For the soundtrack to an obscure TV movie made in early 1970s Sweden I wasn't expecting that much. Maybe a couple of gems amidst unlistenable weirdness. But from the symphonic opening ballad "Soul's Island" to the choir-led reprise of the title track, "A House Safe For Tigers" is amazing. Everything apart from "The Nights", which cropped...view item »


James Yorkston
I Was A Cat From A Book

Once again I’m left with a new album by someone who has been around the block and back around again, then stumbled down a blind alley or two, or the odd ditch. Sadly, on his wanders he keeps losing his Athletes (maybe he shouldn’t have been getting so drunk on that woozy cider...?)...view item »


Karen Elson
Milk And Honey / Winter's Going



Eugene McGuinness
The Invitation To The Voyage

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Sue Denim
And The Unicorn

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Dylan Shearer
Porchpuddles

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Dogtanion
Japan

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Lawrence Arabia
The Sparrow

I can’t help but feel that this Lawrence Arabia (surely not his real name!) is rather in thrall to David Byrne, both with and without his Talking Heads. And I don’t mean that in a bad way either, because this guy&rsquo...view item »


The Welcome Wagon
Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices



Young Moon
Navigated Like the Swans



Diana Darby
I V (intravenous)



Mark Fosson
Digging In The Dust: Home Recordings 1976



Shannon Stephens
Put It Together

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Silver Jews
Early Times

Led by David Berman, the man with the blackest beard in the whole of the western world, its strange to think that The Silver Jews were pre-Pavement and even stranger to hear early ‘hit’ ‘Canada’ now with the benefit of the hindsight of what came later. It sounds like t...view item »


Sun Kil Moon
Among The Leaves

The last two Sun Kil Moon albums,the drifting Spanish guitar-led 'Admiral Fell Promises' and the lengthy devastating paean to love and loss 'April', were in my opinion the greatest two albums of Mark Kozelek's long career. And t...view item »


King Creosote
I Learned From The Gaels

Seemingly the only person in the world to actively dislike KC's collab with John Hopkins it's going to be hard for me to drum up much enthusiasm here, his music does absolutely nothing for me and this record isn't going to cha...view item »


Jeffrey Lewis
A Turn In The Dream-Songs

Everybody's favourite no wave, comic drawing, indie rock dude returns with a new album that picks up where his last “proper” LP “Em Are I” left off. This record was recorded on an analogue tape machine in England. Its' a sweet album. It doesn't have the spattering b...view item »


MV & EE
Space Homestead

Just imagining the space house on the sleeve shuffling along like Howl's Moving Castle...so easily distracted.Here's some hazy and laid back American porch folk sounds. F...view item »


yellow6
Melt Inside

New CD from Yellow 6 on Make Mine Music. This is really nice. There's much more going on than on previous releases. The first track has dreamy guitars, echo-laden piano and spoken word female vocals. And there's the major change with what has come before for Yellow 6 - the addition of vocals by Ally Todd which a appe...view item »


yellow6
Cut

I've actually had to swap to avoid getting even more folk music. This is the latest installment in the Yellow 6 canon and this is now thee 10th(!) album. The first track is absolutely beautiful. Haunting guitar explorations building up nicely with nicely effected guitars adding to the intoxicating brew.  The rest of the album follows a ...view item »


M. Ward
A Wasteland Companion

So A Wasteland Companion, at least initially, seems determined to continue the ideal of Ward as a new classicist in American pop music, deconstructing the sounds of the past and re-imagining them in the present to create something fresh. Leading single "Primitive Girl" transports you into an exciting flurry of folk/pop/rock with dazzling piano, ...view item »


Skinny Lister
Plough & Orion / If The Gaff Don't Let Us Down

Heard this vinyl single was released a year or two back for record store day. Had given up hope of finding it until a search lead me to Norman records. At a brilliant price of £1.99 I couldn't resist. It arrived having being sturdily posted & in perfect condition. The vinyl itself is packaged in a Canvas bag with the cover artwork prin...view item »


Gabriel And The Hounds
Kiss Full Of Teeth

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Cold Specks
I Predict A Graceful Expulsion

This is a smoky, soulful, haunting debut from Al Spx, the pseudonym of the Canadian singer behind Cold Specks. Her voice is amazing; I would love to hear her belting out some gospel, there is also a nascent fragility in her voice which makes it all the more appealing. Everything here is a quite low-key, although...view item »


Alak / Pregnant
Tradition

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Megan Reilly
The Well

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Susanna
Wild Dog



Peasant
Bound For Glory

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Cold Specks
Blank Maps / Winter Solstice

This is kind of minimal dark soul, in fact main Cold Speck Al Spx describes it as 'doom soul'. The main track is a slow burner, her distinctive voice is underlaid by various instruments slowly building but never reaching a crescen...view item »


James Blackshaw
Litany Of Echoes

I've been thrusted James Blackshaw's new CD 'Litany of Echoes' to try & decipher for you lot into meaningless words. Elvis Costello once said that writing about music was a pointless exercise & when it comes to describing this man's extraordinary talent the old snipe was dead on. Both Phil & I are big fans so now is the time for me to b...view item »


Josephine Foster & The Victor Herrero Band
Perlas



Birthmark
Antibodies

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Plankton Wat
Spirits

So this is the debut album (proper) from Eternal Tapestry man Dewey Mahood (where do they get those names?), following several limited CDr type releases on the likes of ...view item »


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