sun 25/10/2020

singer-songwriters

Album: Katie Melua - Album No 8

When Katie Melua arrived on the scene in 2003, a graduate of the BRIT School and a protégé of Mike "Wombling" Batt, I was somewhat underwhelmed. Another one in a long list of tepid female singer-songwriters that were pleasant enough, but… Then I...

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Album: Emmy the Great - April / 月音

Emma-Lee Moss has a lovely voice. It conveys an ache, a longing, but is sweet too, and well-mannered. Combine this with an aptitude for literate, thought-provoking lyrics and hooky songs, and Emmy the Great is quite the package. It’s a mystery, then...

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Album: Sufjan Stevens - The Ascension

Sufjan Stevens is an artist of remarkable ambition. His 80-minute long new album, with 15 beautiful and poetic songs, belongs to a long line of pop experimentation that runs through from The Beatles and George Martin’s Stg Pepper’s Lonely Hearts...

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Album: This Dream of You – Diana Krall

“Produced by Tommy LiPuma.” That phrase has appeared on just about every Diana Krall album since the summer of 1995, when the Cleveland-born mogul arrived at the GRP label – it would be his sixth and last music industry affiliation –...

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Singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter: 'I wanted to do something. I wanted to be useful in some way'

Music has never been more important than in these dark, dislocating and death-stalked days, fear and grief visiting us in ways once unimaginable. The lack of live music – the lack even of the possibility of live music in the near future – is an...

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Album: Suzanne Vega - An Evening of New York Songs and Stories

Suzanne Vega sprang to fame 35 years ago, her eponymous debut one of the last albums we bought in vinyl before the advent of that new-fangled format of aluminium aspic. From it came “Marlene on the Wall”, the video an MTV hit. “Luka” and “Tom’s...

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Album: Declan McKenna - Zeros

Declan McKenna covers many bases. He’s a good looking, teen-friendly pop star who first made waves aged only 15, but he’s also a politically engaged lyricist with aspirations in the region of Bowie and Dylan. His best songs, then, combine chewy,...

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Album: Bebel Gilberto - Agora

The title, translated from the Portuguese, is “now” – an immediacy that, on first listen, seems apt for Bebel Gilberto’s lush and loose Agora. Originally scheduled for a May release, the Brazilian singer’s first album in six years sings with a...

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Album: Bright Eyes - Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was

During the first decade of this century Conor Oberst was critically anointed as a successor to the likes of Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Leonard Cohen. It didn’t seem to make him very happy. His project Bright Eyes, with musical prodigies Nate Walcott...

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Album: Alanis Morissette - Such Pretty Forks in the Road

Alanis Morissette was relieved when fame’s comet swiftly fell to more manageable levels, having crashed into her full-force 25 years ago, when she was just 21. Selling 33 million copies of Jagged Little Pill means, though, that she remains on many...

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New Music Unlocked 3: Dermot Kennedy, Lollapalooza and Cambridge Folk

We are no nearer live music returning and, as venues across the country face financial collapse, it’s clear that even when we reach some sort of "new normal", far from all will be left standing. This is clearly a disaster for British music. #...

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Album: Taylor Swift - folklore

When she announced her “surprise” 8th album on social media this week, Taylor Swift described its subject matter as a combination of “fantasy, history and memory” told with “love, wonder and whimsy”. For the listener, this hits home around track...

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