Archive | June, 2018

Papernut Cambridge – Outstairs Instairs


Papernut Cambridge – Outstairs Instairs

Posted on 22 June 2018 by Joe

Feeling glum? Don’t worry, Ian Button and his Papernut Cambridge friends are about to pop round to put the kettle on, listen to your troubles and give you a lovely, warm hug.

This latest from the former Death in Vegas man’s invented 1970s pop combo is “not quite the full on death and religion Papernut album everyone’s been waiting for”, says Button, “but it’s close”.

That sums it up well. Here we find Button in reflective mood with his late father, who passed away in 2016, a strong presence.

Papernut Cambridge

Themes of grief and loss are inescapable for someone who is so recently bereaved. Sometimes its tough going, such as on second track, Crying. Here Button consoles someone in tears, through the presumably non-British Psychological Society approved technique of screaming “crying” at them, while Papernut chum Stabbs MacKenzie squeals away on his sax.

But in the main the tracks offer inspiration and hope, particularly on No Pressure, where Button passes on words of wisdom from his father. You can almost feel the clouds of gloom pass with this sunshine-pop, foot-stomper.

There’s more happiness too on the final, upbeat track New Forever.

And along the way Button’s adoration of the UK’s golden era of pop, the late 1960s and early 1970s, also serves up further moments of joy. This is particularly the case on the wonderfully psyche-titled opener Buckminster Fullerene.

Mr Shimshiner, on the album’s second half, is another high point.

Tea drunk, hug delivered and Button and his Papernut Cambridge pals depart, leaving you, hopefully, with a smile on your face.


by Joe Lepper

Papernut Cambridge – Outstairs Instairs is released by Gare Du Nord Records. More details here.


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Top 10 Albums of 2018 ….so far

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Top 10 Albums of 2018 ….so far

Posted on 20 June 2018 by Joe

Each June we take a moment to look back on our favourite albums of the year so far. Inventive pop is a key theme his time around, with bands keen to push their boundaries and take their sound into new directions. It’s certainly paid off in the case of many of our Top 10 Albums of 2018 …. so far. We will revisit this list once again in December, when we will reveal our favourite albums of the year.


10. Alex Highton – Welcome to Happiness

For his third album Liverpudlian Alex Highton has turned up the synths and 1980/90s influences to great effect. This is particular notable on opener Benny Is a Heartbreaker, an Ultravox-esque thriller of a song.

Alex Highton

Read our full review here.


9. Guided by Voices – Space Gun

Space Gun may well be the best album Pollard has recorded under the Guided By Voices moniker since he resurrected the band back in 2012.

Space Gun

Read our full review here.


8. Superorganism – Superorganism

This global octet, with members from the UK, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, have impressed us greatly with their stunning debut, which is packed with a range of styles, big choruses and delicious hooks.



7. Okkervil River – In the Rainbow Rain

In the Rainbow Rain is Okkervil River at their best, featuring great tunes in the likes of Love Somebody and Pulled Up The Ribbon as well as some of the strongest personal writing yet from their leader Will Sheff.


Read our full review here.


6. Tigercats – Pig City

Tigercats are back, bigger, brassier and they’ve brought the party with them, careering round the capital on this gem of a third album, which makes great use of their new horn section and African influences.


Read our full review here.


5. Parquet Courts – Wide Awake

Parquet Courts had already done their bit for guitar rock on their first three albums. Now they expertly take their music into new directions, thanks to Danger Mouse on production duties. The results are pure joy.

parquet courts


4. Neko Case – Hell On

The world’s best female vocalist? We certainly think so, especially after hearing this latest highly charged release. She certainly has a lot to be emotional about this time around with this album arriving after her house burnt down and amid a battle with stalkers. Yet another career highpoint and a worthy entry into our top 10 albums of 2018 list.

Neko Case - Hell-On


3. The Go! Team – Semicircle

Eu-bleedin’-phoric! There’s no other word combo to sum up the sheer exhilarating joy of this new The Go! Team album.

The Go Team SEMICIRCLE album artwork SMALL

Read our full review here.


2. Field Music – Open Here

From its chamber pop gems to pop-tastic foot stompers, this latest from Britain’s most interesting act continues to delight.  There are serious messages too, as the band eloquently express their fears around parenthood in post-Brexit Britain. A deserved high placing in our top 10 albums of 2018 list.


Read our full review here.


1. Jack Hayter – Abbey Wood

A derelict children’s home provides the inspiration for former Hefner man Jack Hayter’s latest, where everything falls into place. It has a strong back story, some moments of genuine drama, great music and above all sincerity. This is not only one of the best folk albums of the year, but currently our favourite album of 2018.

abbey wood

Read our full review here.

Compiled by Joe Lepper and Dorian Rogers


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The Wave Pictures – Brushes With Happiness


The Wave Pictures – Brushes With Happiness

Posted on 19 June 2018 by Joe

The Wave Pictures are something of an oddity within the UK ‘indie’ scene they have been part of for around two decades.

Their sardonic lyrics, partnerships with the likes of Darren Hayman and appearances at events such as Indie Tracks make them, on the surface, ideal for the C86 brigade. But at heart they are a blues rock band, more at home playing on the same bill as perhaps John Mayall or Dr Feelgood.

wave pictures

In recent years they’ve been doing their best to showcase their blues and classic rock roots, especially on the American influenced Bamboo Diner, the blues driven City Forgiveness and their Creedence Clearwater Revival tribute on Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon.

This late-night, booze fuelled blues offering certainly adds to those attempts. Recorded in one night, it aims to recreate the feel of a vintage jazz, folk or blues live album.

Guitarist Dave Tattersall explains:

Lots of bands pretend that they have made their Tonight’s The Night or Astral Weeks, that special album which is recorded in those rare, late-night, pressure-free circumstances; that loose collection of inspired jams. They haven’t done it really. They’ve spent bloody ages working on the thing. They’ve lost their nerve. This is the real thing. A genuine shitfaced improvisation.

Largely improvised, except for the lyrics, this nine-track collection shows how much of a tight knit musical machine they are after so long together.

It works best when based around a strong riff from Tattersall, as on opener The Red Suitcase, which features a lovely long rambling guitar solo too.

Jim is another strong track. Its dark, brooding lyrics and harmonica solo a world away from the fey pop of C86.

Crow Jane builds up nicely too as the album breaches the half way point.

But for the remaining three tracks I found myself getting a little restless and craving some of their more ballsy rock of recent years.

I get that this is an album designed to be slow and broody. But after 50 minutes of slow broody blues I got a little bored. But is that how all non-blues fans hear the blues?

While I admire Wave Pictures for trying out something different in the recording process, this comes across as more of an interesting add-on to their catalogue rather than a distinct high point.


by Joe Lepper


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Tim Rutili & Craig Ross – Video Premiere

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Tim Rutili & Craig Ross – Video Premiere

Posted on 08 June 2018 by Dorian

The video below, for the song ‘Like A Rifle’, comes from Tim Rutili & Craig Ross’ forthcoming album 10 Seconds To Collapse. Tim is the founder and principle songwriter for Califone and Red Red Meat. Craig is a producer, songwriter and collaborator who has worked with Shearwater, Lisa Germano, Spoon, Patty Griffin, Robert Plant and Daniel Johnston.

The album, released on the 22nd June by Jealous Butcher Records, has been getting rave responses from other artists:

“Best record I’ve heard in a long time – each song wrapped in it’s own unique foil of odd old colors that get brighter each time you hear – every song worth a good long soak.” – M. Ward

“10 seconds to collapse is brilliant – Tim Rutili and Craig Ross make music of unhinged genius and bruised beauty” – Mark Lanegan

“Melancholy humor, playful messy bombast – it gets the car running then drives it into a ditch to stagger naked into the woods.  A vast and unpredictable ride. Listen loud .” – Thor Harris (Swans, Shearwater)


US based readers can see the duo on tour in July. Click here for dates and details.


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