Moby – Everything was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt

MobyAll things bleak and beautiful, a creature great and small. On this release, Moby bares all: the shame of his past, his helplessness and pain in the present and his fear of a dystopian future.

But, being Moby, despite the weary melancholy inherent throughout, he produces moments of great beauty, even transcendence.

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Early Man

Early Man - Dug and Hognob(PG, Aardman)

Released in a World Cup year, even those who avoid ‘the beautiful game’ can enjoy the punfest and ingenuity of another Aardman film. Early Man is a clash of civilisations, where football is the means of bringing them together, but writer/director Nick Park insists that this is not a football film, per se.

The movie maintains Aardman’s appealing homespun warmth, but on a new epic scale (with their biggest sets ever) that sometimes suggests a stop-motion Lord of the Rings – although Park reveals that the inspiration is mainly from Gladiator.

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The Old Dark House (Dual Format DVD/Blu Ray)


You may or may not be not grateful for this, but if it wasn’t for films like The Old Dark House, you’d never have got Scooby Doo. You can imagine the start: to quote another famous cartoon dog, “It was a dark and stormy night,” and an open car with 3 drenched passengers struggles to get over the Welsh hills. Then a landslide maroons them, where the only shelter is the spooky, eponymous house. When the window of the door slides back, it slowly reveals the wild, scarred and lupine face of a dumb butler – just one of the house’s weird inhabitants.

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Joanne Hogg & Co: The Map Project

Joanne Hogg. Image by Henri Strik, via

Joanne Hogg is best known for her keyboards and lead vocals with Celtic-jazz-prog-folkies Iona, but this 6 track EP is a very different affair.

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Marillion – All One Tonight

Marillion have come a long way over the years, The band that started out derided by music fans as just a Genesis rip off went on to have a couple of excellent hit singles and now has members in demand – such as bassist Pete Trewavas, who is part of prog supergroup Transatlantic.

This live DVD records a show from London’s Royal Albert Hall that sold out in just four minutes.

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The Decemberists – I’ll Be Your Girl

(Rough Trade/ Capitol Records)
11 tracks / 43 mins

There are plenty of songwriters covering the bizarre political climate across the States and Europe, but who uses black humour like The Decemberists? This one is like New Order making a soundtrack to a David Lynch film about a George Orwell novel.

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Darlingside – Extralife

It is rare for me to be so instantly struck by a new album. After hearing about four songs (or maybe only four parts of songs) I was contacting the band for a press copy.

It’s the reverb-drenched harmonies that did it. Comparisons with the Beach Boys are unavoidable (and on “Indian Orchard Road” it’s the tune as well), while there are also bits of Fleet Foxes in the sound and even Sufjan Stevens at times. I actually find Darlingside more appealing than Fleet Foxes, as they demand more repeat plays.

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Sheeran Perfection

Hanna with Sheeran, via Church of England Newspaper

No, Johnny Nash didn’t sing, “I can see clearly now Lorraine has gone.” Neither did Hot Chocolate sing, “I remove umbilicals” or the Police record a song about Sue Lawley.

Misheard lyrics can give us a quick laugh, but occasionally, they lead to something more creative – like a viral video that quickly reached some nine million viewers around Easter.

That happened to singer-songwriter Philippa Hanna, whose Christian version of Ed Sheeran’s Christmas number one “Perfect” was the pearl that grew from the grit of a misheard lyric. Continue reading

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Yvonne Lyon – Metanoia

Yvonne Lyon

Yvonne Lyon. (Image via


I nearly let a couple of bad first impressions put me off this album: I was underwhelmed by her support act to Iona a few years ago (although I may just have been impatient for the main act), and Metanoia‘s (intentionally retro?) cover art cried out, “Bland!”

However, its washed out design belies a dozen songs that are bathed in musical colours.

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Steve Hackett– Wuthering Nights: Live in Birmingham

Image result for wuthering nights hackettGiven that this live album partly celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Genesis album Wind and Wuthering, it’s hard to think of a better title than Wuthering Nights, but there’s much about this package that is hard to beat: band, set list, sound and vision are just a few.

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