wed 08/07/2020

songwriters

Album: Sparks - A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip

Apparently a freaky, brilliant novelty in 1974, Sparks have proved eternally invincible: the synthpop duo template, glam and disco avatars, chasing the pop grail across the globe as their latest mode hit the local chart mark. Lightly worn resilience...

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Album: X – Alphabetland

It’s 35 years since the original and best loved line up of X last released any new material: the less than special Ain’t Love Grand. Somewhat unexpectedly then, a new album, Alphabetland has appeared out of the ether and it’s certainly up there with...

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Album: Joan as Policewoman – Cover Two

Glorious Joan is back! Eleven years after her first covers album, with that very cheeky artwork, comes Joan Wasser’s celebration of "songs I adore" – 10 tunes that she’s been working on ever since 2009.Those lucky enough to have caught her in...

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One World: Together at Home livestream review - all eight hours of it!

What times. They cancelled Glastonbury. Festival season 2020 disappeared. Then certain potions and compounds associated with festivaling ran dry. Well, the latter exist, of course. There’s a fellow over the road who’s still selling talcum powder and...

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Album: Sufjan Stevens &. Lowell Brams - Aporia

Sufjan Stevens is an immensely creative musician – a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and composer. His work ranges from sophisticated dreamy pop that has influenced many, not least Bon Iver to grandiose and sometimes disturbing soundscapes. He...

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Elvis Costello and the Imposters, Eventim Apollo review - and the band played on

Elvis Costello is arguably – perhaps unarguably – the most enduring and genuine talent to emerge from the mid-Seventies pub and punk scenes, and his two-hour set on Friday night demonstrated that he’s still a compelling performer, full of energy and...

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Classic Albums: Tears for Fears, Songs From The Big Chair, BBC Four review - anatomy of an anthem

Roland Orzabal, co-founder and lead guitarist of Tears for Fears, laughs to himself often during this documentary — the latest in the BBC’s often-excellent, always-forensic Classic Albums series. “I agree, I agree, it sounds great,” says Orzabal. He...

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Transatlantic Sessions, Symphony Hall, Birmingham review - folk fusion from Burns to the boss

In its seventeenth incarnation, Transatlantic Sessions - a concert comprising music from some of the finest names in Scottish, Irish and American folk - had its penultimate night of its UK tour in a packed-out Symphony Hall, Birmingham on Friday...

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John Grant, Roundhouse review - simplicity, with a bit of space opera

John Grant’s entry onto the stage was unobtrusive, appropriate for a set-up that consisted of just a grand piano and an electronic keyboard (with accompanying keyboardist). He began with similarly unadorned songs, the ballads that peppered the start...

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Rags: The Musical, Park Theatre review - a timely, if predictable, immigrant tale

“Take our country back!” is the rallying cry of the self-identified “real” Americans gathered to protest the arrival of immigrants. It could be a contemporary Trump rally – or, indeed, the nastier side of current British political discourse – but in...

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& Juliet, Shaftesbury Theatre review - the Bard with dancefloor bangers

It’s bright, it’s brash, it’s a gazillion times camper than Christmas: but is it such stuff as theatrical hits are made on? If that misquotation is already making you cringe, then this glittery pop juggernaut probably isn’t for you – but it is,...

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CD: Beck - Hyperspace

Beck stands on the front cover of his new album Hyperspace with a vintage Toyota and Japanese text resplendent above. It’s the perfect scene setter for an album you could easily imagine soundtracking a midnight drive through Tokyo. Or if the lyrics...

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