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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Back to main page

Steven Wilson
The Raven That Refused To Sing (Kscope)

Steven WilsonWe’re often found enthusing around these parts about Mr Wilson and his idiotically high output, however his latest solo outing has taken his love of classic rock a step further by reaching back (Chris Squire style lead bass, flutes, organs and Mellotrons, angular Yes/King Crimson-esque time signatures, ten minute plus tracks) and then stitched them all onto almost nu-metal style tight clipped rock riffage and gorgeous jazzy flourishes to create a prog rock fans wet dream. Special mention must go to guitarist Guthrie Govan who plays like an amalgam of Jeff Beck and Adrian Belew (which is guitar heaven let me tell you). Best solo Wilson effort yet.
Ray Harper

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Woodkid
The Golden Age (Island)

Woodkid Chances are that you have already heard Woodkid (Yoann Lemoine to his mum), given that his music has been used in Nike ads, computer games and most recently as the trailer music for the BBC’s last series of Being Human – he’s also a video director of some note, but that’s a whole other story. Sounding not unlike a lower register Antony Hegarty, and like Hegarty Woodkid’s music is also on the grandiose side but with more of a galloping, percussive element which propel the songs along, dragging the listener down dark claustrophobic alleys and out into expansive lush pastures, this really is an incredibly assure debut.
Ruby Palmer

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Norman Watt-Roy
Faith & Grace (Cadiz)

Norman Watt RoyHe may look like a cartoon character, and he could gurn for India (where he was born), but Norman Watt Roy is one of the finest bass players of the last two decades – you may not be aware but aside from being the reason the Blockhead’s were funky you will have heard his four string genius on Frankie’s ‘Relax’ and The Clash’s ‘Magnificent Seven’ (both amusingly referenced here) – and this collection touches on everything from funk and jazz to Frank Zappa style prog. It’s a mixed bag to be sure but as a CV for one of our least celebrated and most underrated bass legends it does its job very well.
Ray Harper

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Jah Wobble & Keith Levene
Yin & Yang (Cherry Red)

Jah Wobble & Keith Levene John Lydon releases the best PiL album since Metal Box but without the input of his erstwhile bandmates Jah Wobble and Keith Levene. Do they feel left out or do they simply get together and release an equally striking melange of post-punk dub and industrial jazz poetry? Have a guess. What’s immediately apparent is an open-minded ‘anything goes’ ethos and if that results in some less than successful experiments it also ensures more than enough moments of genius (like the nine minute plus genre-mashing ‘Jags And Staffs’) melding Levene’s coruscating guitar with Wobbles seismic bass bedrock. Now if they could all just get in a studio together...
Ruby Palmer

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Wrongtom Meets Deemas J
In East London (Tru Thoughts)

Wrongtom Meets Deemas J Fans of Wrongtom’s 2010 link up with Roots Manuva will doubtless have had their antennas twitching for new Wrongtom material ever since and, whilst this isn’t the first thing he has done since 2010 (his remixing skills being much in demand) it’s certainly amongst the best, mixing his old skool dub/dancehall production skills with Deemas J’s ragga style MC-ing. As the title suggests this is from the UK arm of the reggae world drawing as much inspiration from Dizzie Rascal as Tippa Irie and Barrington Levy and with hefty nods towards hip hop, jungle and dubstep this celebration of the East End of London is an absolute delight.
Drew Bass

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Jack White
Blunderbuss (XL)

Jack White Much has been made of the lovelorn lyrics that abound on Blunderbuss (especially given Jack White’s split with wife Karen Elson in 2011), but given that the pairs split was so amicable they actually threw a joint divorce party, this is probably just so much journalist license. Musically the album retains his stripped back palette, albiet in rather more expanded form than the drums and guitar of the White Stripes, and remains firmly planted in White’s beloved blues whilst successfully dipping toes in country, gospel and Americana, and if squalling guitar solos are rather less evident then previously the resultant mix is hugely entertaining.
Ruby Palmer

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Kathryn Williams Presents...
The Pond (One Little Indian)

Kathryn Williams Presents... The Pond finds TM-Online’s favourite folkie working with former Fairground Attraction member Simon Edwards and Ginny Clee, latterly of The Dear Janes on what can only be described as a Portishead meets the Afro Celt Soundsystem electronic downtempo mix, and you could blow us down with a feather if it isn’t just as endearing and lovely as her solo albums. Folkie fans needn’t fear however, Kath hasn’t gone all trip hoppy on us, the folk elements are still present and correct, it’s just they are filtered through a hazy gauze of beats ’n’ loops and even injects some bhangra and (eek!) rap into the mix. Williams just get's better and better.
Ruby Palmer

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Tom Waits
Bad As Me (Anti/Epitaph)

Tom WaitsPopular belief has it that Tom Waits has two entirely separate careers, a bar dwelling hobo-boho singer/ songwriter and the clanking, wheezing field barn recordist unveiled on Swordfishtrombones whereas there are aspects to both strands of his muse that have been present for much of his lengthy career and Bad As Me, like Real Gone and Mule Variations before it spotlights both the beautiful balladeer and the gravel gargling metal torturer. The most immediate stand out track here is anti-war song ‘Hell Broke Luce’ but repeat listens unearth a wealth of treasures that could sit happily in any of his superb back catalogue.
Ray Harper


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Steven Wilson
Grace For Drowning (K Scope)

Steven WilsonMy word young Mr Wilson is a busy bee, as the founder and front man of British rock band Porcupine Tree, has also been producing and/or mixing albums for artists as diverse as Opeth, Anja Garbarek, and of course prog titans King Crimson as well as creating Grace for Drowning, the second album released under his own name which proves to be even more impressive than his last effort, Insurgentes. In most hands a two disc set with twenty plus minute tracks would be something of a worry but fear not Wilson is just bursting with ideas lobbing everything from choirs, strings, jazz, glitch, ambient washes and thunderous hardcore into the mix.
Ruby Palmer

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****************************************************************** The Who
Quadrophenia (UMC)

The WhoDestined to remain in the shadow of, let’s be honest here, the far more hit and miss Tommy, Quadrophenia is in fact a far better album (and concept come to that), than its deaf dumb and blind sibling. Chock full of classic Who moments this re-release is something of a must have for collectors as it includes oodles of Pete Townshend’s original demos (pretty fully formed in many cases), which are fascinating if only to discover exactly what Daltry, Moon and Entwhistle actually brought to the party. Go for the full blown release and get a 5.1 surround DVD mix and a 100-page hardback book featuring a brand-new essay from Townshend.
The Oracle

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The Waterboys
An Appointment with Mr. Yeats (Proper Records)

The Waterboys Not the first time Mike Scott – and let’s be honest The Waterboys are Mike Scott - has communed with the spirit of William Butler Yeats having set the poet and playwright’s words to music on both Fishermans Blues (‘The Stolen Child’) and Dream Harder (‘Love and Death’) so it’s not a huge surprise to find that An Appointment with Mr Yeats is an entire album of such reinterpretations. What is a surprise however, given that the vast majority of these sort of projects are generally awful duffers, is that this is really rather good, in fact it’s probably the best Waterboys album since Room To Roam.
Ruby Palmer

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Astrid Williamson
Pulse (One Little Indian)

Astrid WilliamsonThe story so far: Having split with her band Goya Dress and been dropped by previous label Nude Williamson, after a bout of self released efforts is picked up by One Little Indian and releases what should have been her breakthrough singer/songwriter style album Day Of The Lone Wolf only it isn’t. Bang up to date our heroine discovers producer, composer, performer and ambient guitar wizard Leo Abrahams, deluges him with demos and the resultant collaboration is this little beauty, and beauty is the word here as this really is a gorgeous collection that steps bravely outside of her comfort zone producing some tremendous results.
Ruby Palmer

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Ben Waters
Boogie 4 Stu (Eagle)

Ben WatersInitially planned as a solo tribute to the sixth Rolling Stone Ian Stewart (who died of a heart attack in 1985, hence the proceeds of this album going to The British Heart Foundation) the project ballooned when Charlie Watts invited himself along to play and Ben Waters soon found himself with an astonishing array of players queuing up to record, including all of the Stones, Jools Holland, PJ Harvey and more, and there is much to love here - not least a recording of Stewart himself live at Montreux - but the real highlight is a version of Bob Dylan’s 'Watchin’ The River' Flow featuring all of the Stones including Bill Wyman, and it’s a belter.
Ray Harper

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Wire
Red Barked Tree (Pink Flag)

Wire“Just what I need” declaims Colin Newman as the fit-to-sandblast two minutes of, ahem, ‘Two Minutes’ grind into noisy life. And, in truth, there are few better ways to start a new year than stalwart art-pop group Wire firing on all cylinders. Contrasting intense blasts of avant-pop with some of the group’s most resonant, melodically rich material, Red Barked Tree is Wire’s most satisfying release since 1978 landmark Chairs Missing. Indeed, the two albums share an opaque, ominous mood, best captured here on ‘Adapt’, ‘Down To This’ and ‘Red Barked Trees’. Taut, considered and very, very enjoyable.
David Davies

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Wyatt/Atzmon/Stephen
The Ghosts Within (Domino)

Wyatt/Atzmon/Stephen An unexpected – but very welcome – full-length collaboration between Robert Wyatt, saxophonist Gilad Atzmon and violinist Ros Stephen has yielded the most textured, dreamlike work to feature Wyatt’s uniquely affecting voice since 1997 solo release Shleep. Well-chosen covers and Wyatt material new and old sit within an appealing sonic landscape marked out by strings, alto sax and percussion. Proving those old clichés about age and wisdom true once again, Wyatt is arguably singing more freely and movingly aged 65 than at any time in his long career; for stunning proof, check out his remarkable revisit to ‘Round Midnight’.
David Davies

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Ronnie Wood
I Feel Like Playing (Eagle Records)

Ronnie WoodCome on, who else thought that a reformation of the Faces with Glen Matlock and Mick Hucknell sounded about as good an idea as reforming Monty Python with Russ Abbott and Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown? Still, some people loved it, and now we have a new solo effort from perennial side-man Woody. Is it any good? Actually yes, especially if you love that shambolic Stones/Faces groove, quite possibly his best solo effort to date in fact, and for once the long list of guest stars effects the albums continuity not one iota as every track fits snugly into that loose limbed groove you would expect from Wood.
The Oracle

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Jimmy Webb
Just Across The River (E1 Music/RSK)

Jimmy Webb Think you don’t know Jimmy Webb? Think again ‘Wichita Lineman’, ‘Galveston’, ‘By The Time I get To Phoenix’ are all Webb compositions, and you only need check out the stellar cast assembled here to pay homage (Billy Joel, Lucinda Williams, Glen Campbell, Mark Knopfler, Willie Nelson and Jackson Browne to mention just some) to realise the esteem in which the man is held. Recorded, more or less live, over just two days in Nashville Just Across The River revisits Webb’s finest moments and as a primer it’s just about unbeatable. Perhaps now the man will finally be as well known as his music.
Ray Harper

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Robert Wyatt
His Greatest Misses (Domino)

Robert Wyatt Long term readers of TotalMusic-Online will doubtless already be aware that we are fond of Robert Wyatt. Not only is his voice one of the sweetest instruments on God’s green earth but he also writes genuinely moving, lovely, though-provoking and downright weird songs, and as if that wasn’t enough he is also a genuinely lovely bloke. Originally only released in Japan this collection holds nothing new for the long term fan but is an excellent introduction for anyone keen to find out more about the ex-Soft Machine and Matching Mole drummer and should find you heading back to the entire back catalogue recently re-released on Domino. Ray Harper

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Paul Weller
Wake Up the Nation (Island)

Paul WellerPaul’s last studio album, 22 Dreams, was a career highlight: a diverse, rampantly creative 68-minute song-cycle whose originality was made all the more impressive by the fact that its creator was then embarking on his fourth decade as a professional musician. In a deliberate reaction to that album’s expansive feel, Wake Up the Nation is bracingly concise (16 songs fly by in just 40 minutes) and often seething with anger. The squally, Kevin Shields-assisted ‘7&3 Is the Strikers Name’ and perfect soul gem ‘No Tears to Cry’ are among the highlights of an album which further confirms Weller’s artistic resurgence.
David Davies

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Jah Wobble & The Nippon Dub Ensemble
Japanese Dub (30 Hertz)

Jah WobbleGiven the superb marriage of ethnic Chinese folk music and dub found on his previous album (Chinese Dub) expectations in the office were high for Wobbles newest foray, this time into the world of Japanese music. Perhaps the expectations were a little too high as initially opinions were very divided as to the efficacy of this latest culture mash. But if tracks like ‘Shinto Dub’ and ‘Mishima/Kurosawa’ are a little clunky and/or heavy going, there’s still plenty to love here, not least the four ‘K Dub…’ versions of ‘Kokiriko’ and ‘Cherry Blossom Of My Youth’ which play to his strengths, i.e. bowel loosening dub.
Drew Bass

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Kathryn Williams
The Quickening (One Little Indian)

Kathryn WilliamsHard to believe that this is the eighth album from Liverpudlian singer/songwriter Kathryn Williams who seems (rather like the equally underrated Thea Gilmore), to be suffering from lack of label support – something hopefully One Little Indian will now be addressing – as, like Gilmore, Williams isn’t endowed with lads mag levels of pulchritude so struggles to find the sort of coverage that falls at the feet of less talented but ‘prettier’ performers. Which is a real shame as this is a cracking album loaded with neat turns of phrase, nice dark musical touches and her understated set of Joni Mitchell/Nick Drake-esque pipes. Ruby Palmer

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White Rabbits
It’s Frightening (Mute)

White Rabbits Lordy, it’s unlikely that you could hoy a brick anywhere in Brooklyn without hitting some hot new indie outfit (hoy-ing bricks is not something TotalMusic-Online condones or indeed encourages – Ed) what with Grizzly Bear the Dirty Projectors and now White Rabbits mooching around this particular long Island borough. Must be something in the water as they say, and certainly the second album from this double drum dealing sextet is an intriguing mixture of thudding percussion, pop-smart choons and lead vocals not un-reminiscent of Miles ‘Wonderstuff’ Hunt and Mike ‘Waterboys’ Scott. Dead fearsome live as well they say. The Oracle

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Tom Waits
Glitter and Doom Live (ANTI-)

Tom WaitsIt is more than two decades since Tom Waits last released a full live album (1988’s underwhelming Big Time), and during this period his ‘second phase’ sound of gnarly blues, balladry and all manner of curious instrumentation has continued to evolve. The first disc of Glitter and Doom Live serves as a concise catch-up, with ‘Dirt in the Ground’ and ‘The Part You Throw Away’ particularly effective in their new on-stage incarnations. But for die-hards, it will almost certaonly be the 35-minute sequence of characteristically wry, amusing between-song anecdotes on Disc 2 that renders this a must-have.
David Davies

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Leslie West
The Great Fatsby (Voiceprint)

Leslie WestOlder readers will doubtless already be aware that Mr West is the axe-slinger for late 60s proto-heavy rockers Mountain and mid 70s blues-rock power trio West, Bruce and Laing but he has also been steadily releasing a steady stream of solo albums over the last forty years and this is certainly one of the most accessible. Originally released in 1975, featuring Mick Jagger on Guitar (!), Spooky Tooth’s Gary Wright and peppered with a batch of cover versions by the likes of Free, Tim Hardin, the Animals and the Stones, The Great Fatsby will appeal to anyone who grew up listening to rock in the mid seventies.
Ray Harper

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Steven Wilson
Insurgents (Snapper/Kscope)

Steven WilsonPorcupine Tree front-man and workaholic Steven Wilson finally comes out from behind a sea of aliases – side projects include No-Man, Incredible Expanding Mindfuck, Bass Communion, Blackfield and Continuum – and pins his colours to the mast with this debut solo album touching on almost everything from wigged out prog and industrial noise to beautifully bleak ballads. There’s not a bad track on here but the undoubted highlight is the colossal 'No Twilight Within The Courts Of The Sun' which, to these ears at least, harks back to the over-arching ambition shown by Red era King Crimson and it doesn't get much better than that.
Ray Harper

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Jah Wobble
Chinese Dub (30 Hertz)

Jah Wobble If Jah Wobble was given the major label support and budget offered to, oh I dunno, let’s say Damon Albarn, the ex east-end ne’er do well, PiL bass monster and World Music champion would be seriously more high profile than he currently is (not entirely sure he’s that bothered by that fact mind), with a string of excellent albums, and numerous successful musical experiments, to his name Wobble is probably the most open-minded, adventurous musician the UK has ever produced. So how does Chinese Dub work then? Bloody brilliantly actually, impossible to describe other than it sounds exactly like the title and you need to hear it.
Drew Bass

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Brian Wilson
That Lucky Old Sun (Capitol)

Brian WilsonThe former Beach Boy-in-chief’s first solo recording for four years has had a rather mixed press, with some critics questioning its ‘anachronistic’, sun-kissed take on California. But at 66, and having come through so many mental and physical challenges, is Wilson not entitled to a little nostalgic reflection on his home state? In any case, the robust melodies – some of Wilson’s strongest since the early ‘70s – and energetic performances by his usual band are sufficient to dispel any doubts. Linked together by vivid spoken word narratives penned by Van Dyke Parks, That Lucky Old Sun is consistent and often rather beautiful..
David Davies

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Wire
Object 47 (pinkflag)

WireLed off by a remarkable spoken word/electronic/indie conflation entitled ’23 Years Too Late’, last year’s Read & Burn 03 EP raised expectations considerably for this latest ‘reactivation’ of Wire’s long, unpredictable career. If Object 47 (the band’s 11th full-length effort) doesn’t quite satisfy these high hopes, it is still possessed of at least five first-rate tunes that confirm the renewed sense of purpose. Album bookends ‘One of Us’ and ‘All Fours’ offer the most compelling proof – the first a sinuous slice of electronically-infused guitar-pop, the other an explosion of punkish energy that recalls landmark debut Pink Flag.
David Davies

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Paul Weller
22 Dreams (Island)

Paul WellerThe Modfather’s last effort, 2005’s As Is Now, signalled a return to form after several tired-sounding releases, but was only a foretaste of a remarkable new phase of creativity on Weller’s most ambitious album ever. Possessing an impressively high strike-rate, the 68-minute 22 Dreams takes in horn-charged power-pop (the title track), spirited acoustic strumathons (‘Black River’), pristine balladry (‘Cold Moments’), psychedelic rock (‘Echoes Round the Sun’) and glistening soundscapes (‘Night Lights’). To paraphrase Dylan Thomas, 22 Dreams shows that Weller has absolutely no intention of ‘going gentle into that good night’.
David Davies

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Dionne Warwick
The Love Collection (Sony/BMG)

Dionne Warwick Yes, most of these kind of ‘themed’ collections are the spawn of Satan, and yes we would normally roundly ignore them in our never-ending search for something new to excite our jaded palettes, but come on! Who in their right mind could possibly not want an album which includes ‘Walk On By’, I Say A Little Prayer’, Do You Know The Way To San Jose’, ‘Anyone Who Had A Heart’, What The World Needs Now’ and ‘I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself’? Someone with no bloody soul that’s who. If you're already a fan there's nothing for you here, if however you don’t own any Dionne Warwick you need this..
Ruby Palmer

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Robert Wyatt
Comicopera (Domino)

Robert WyattRobert Wyatt’s last album, 2003’s Cuckooland, was a vivid patchwork of genres and styles, although in truth hardly the great man’s most accessible work. Although primarily existing in the same hinterland between jazz and pop, Comicopera is both more direct and rich in memorable melodies, with several tunes – among them ‘Just As You Are’ (penned with wife and long-time collaborator Alfreda Benge) and the Eno co-write ‘A Beautiful Peace’– deserving to feature on any future Wyatt best-off. However, it may be ‘Out of the Blue’ – a pulverising cry of anguish at Western foreign policy – that lingers longest in the memory.


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Scott Walker
and who shall go to the ball? and what shall go to the ball? (4AD)

Scott WalkerNear-silence for the best part of a decade and then two new albums in the space of 16 months? Such are the curious ways of Noel Scott Engel. In truth, this set – consisting of music originally commissioned by London’s South Bank Centre to accompany a contemporary dance piece – is only a mini-album, yet its 24 minutes nonetheless convey the air of A Major Work. Positioned in the same dark, dramatic sonic space as 2006’s The Drift, the four-movement piece climaxes with a window-rattling barrage of strings and electronics that moves the highly unsettling late-period Walker vision on a further stage.


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The White Stripes
Icky Thump (Third Man/XL)

The White Stripes You might imagine, given that he has taken to letting blind people cut his hair, and dressing up as a Pearly King for his latest album cover – and let’s not even ask why he and Meg share cover booklet space with a donkey or Queen Elizabeth – Jack White has finally taken leave of his senses, and if you head straight for the speeded up bagpipe lunacy of 'St. Andrews' you would believe the case proved. But whilst this is certainly a curiously anglicised version of Detroit blues it actually has far more in common with Led Zeppelin at their most experimental and actually contains some of the Stripes most genuinely volatile moments.


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Tom Waits
Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards (Anti)

Tom WaitsViewed in some quarters as a career retrospective Orphans is far more of a cupboard cleaning exercise, a whopping fifty four tracks (fifty six if you include the two typically Waits-ian anecdotes tacked onto the end of CD 3), thirty of which are brand new, the remainder rare reclaimed tracks bequeathed to other projects. From heart rending ballads to raw clanking bust up’s via scary children’s tales, gleefully deranged cover versions and beyond, this is a positive treasure trove of Waits-analia. Fans should be aware that this beautifully presented release, complete with a 94 page booklet, is strictly Limited Edition so get your skates on...


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The Who
Endless Wire (Polydor)

The Who Finally, after 24 years of denials, false starts and procrastination, a new Who studio album has arrived. If the notion fills you with trepidation, then relax – it’s marvellous. Glowing with analogue warmth thanks to the use of an antique desk once belonging to Ronnie Wood, Endless Wire skilfully recaptures the band’s crunchy early ‘70s sound, with ‘Mike Post Theme’, Townshend-sung acoustic interlude ‘God Speaks of Marty Robbins’ and the breathtaking ‘Wire & Glass’ mini-opera confirming that the Who magic remains entact. Pick up the limited edition with live disc to hear a paint-stripping rendition of old favourite ‘Relay’.


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The Walker Brothers
Everything Under the Sun (Universal)

The Walker BrothersBeautifully presented 5 CD box set featuring all the studio recordings (from 1965 to 1978) – plus a further 14 previously unreleased tracks - fully re-mastered and presented in grin inducing teen-mag sleeve the whole shebang completed by reams of detailed notes by Mark Paytress. This really is an object lesson in catalogue re-releasing, boasting plenty of new material for die-hard fans and every last sky-hugging pop classic (who doesn’t love The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore' or `Make It Easy on Yourself'), now if someone could just track down the live in Japan recordings that really would be Everything Under The Sun.


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Scott Walker
The Drift (4AD)

Scott WalkerBleak, blasted, hellish – just three of the adjectives that you might reach for after spending 70 minutes in the oppressive soundworld of The Drift. Occupying an even more remote orbit than 1995’s Tilt, the album is heavy with opaque ruminations on inhumanity and the ghastly world events of recent years (the repeated “pow-pows” on ‘Jesse’ represent the two airplanes hitting the World Trade Center). While you wonder if Scott may have spent too much time of late watching News 24, his haunting lyrical muse and ever-poised vocals define an album that still allows for some stark beauty amidst all the horror.


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Wire
Chairs Missing (EMI)

WireThe second of Wire’s three albums, the first Pink Flag a cracking blast of ‘making the most of our limitations’ punk the last, 154, the sound of a band pushing in four different directions (and remarkably this turns out not to be a bad thing), before falling to pieces and leaving behind a pretty much perfect body of work. Chairs Missing is perhaps the most fully realised of the three albums, and certainly a great starting point if you missed out on them the first time around as juddering spastic punk rock outings careen about, crashing into darker passages and many a moment of genuine humour and beauty.


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Ronnie Wood
Anthology: The Essential Crossexion (EMI)

Ronnie WoodAlways a fan of, erm, ramshackle production values, the one thing that guarantees this two CD collection sits together as a comfortably cohesive whole is a totally cavalier disregard for the niceties of ‘studio polish’ which paradoxically is exactly why it's such an entertaining and loveable mess. Split into Wood original recordings and Wood as team player CD's – with The Birds, The Creation, The Jeff Beck Group, The Faces and of course The Rolling Stones - and encompassing the entire career of the craggy faced poster boy for the artfully placed ciggie, this collection proves Wood to be rather more than a professional sideman.


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The Wood Brothers
Ways Not to Lose (Blue Note)

The Wood BrothersThe Wood Brothers are Oliver and Chris Wood, the latter a lynchpin of offbeat jazz trio Medeski Martin & Wood. Having recognised that their own regular musical hook-ups demanded documentation, the Woods have fashioned a stripped-back, bluesy record on which the arrangements revolve around guitar, bass and sparse percussion. On ‘The Truth Is the Light’ and ‘Glad’ – which features some fiery lead guitar – the technique works a treat. But you can’t help wishing that producer John Medeski had been let out of the control room occasionally – his trademark Hammond organ floods would have taken the whole thing to another level.


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Wolf Parade
Apologies To The Queen Mary (Sub Pop)

Wolf ParadeYet another fascinating beat combo to come tumbling out of Canada (Montreal to be specific, also home to recent media darlings Arcade Fire), sounding not unlike a nasty car wreck between the Talking Heads, XTC and Joy Division with one half of the vocal front line, Spencer Krug’s hyperactive Gary Numan meets Roy Wood yelp, lending the whole shebang an altogether disquieting edge (why not have a listen for yourself here). Recorded by Modest Mouse's Isaac Brock, who appears to have been instrumental in their Sub Pop deal, Apologies To The Queen Mary just gets better with each new listen. Definitely one to watch for 2006.


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Tom Waits
Real Gone (Anti)

Tom WaitsThe announcement of a new album by Tom Waits always creates immense anticipation amongst the Waitsian faithful, something roughly akin to the fervour with which the sadly deluded perch expectantly on their pews every Sunday. It's a religious experience, and with no real equivalent in the music world as the gravel voiced boho continues to plough whatever the hell clanking, skewed course he damn well feels like and we love him for it. As with his last two outings (Blood Money and Alice) there's as much beauty as there is discord to be found here, as much humour as there are dark mutterings. Truly the man stands alone.


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Way Out West
Don't Look Now (Distinct'ive)

Way Out WestBreakbeat may currently be about as popular as an unwelcome house guest with a bowel complaint, but if you follow fads rather than just listen out for good music then you're a bit of a div (or a major label A&R). This may not be 'cool' - it certainly ain't 'grime' - but it is a very nicely realised club-flavoured collection with lush vocals (courtesy of the enigmatically monikered Omi), seriously on the button beats, open minded psychedelic acidic vibes and a real feeling that WOW are increasingly straying out of DJ territory and into 'band' territory. Love this, hate labels.


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Wreckless Eric
Bungalow Hi (Southern Domestic)

Wreckless Eric Another cracking release which has been around for a while now and seems to be slipping through the cracks - hot on the heels of his recent, very readable autobiography (A Dysfunctional Success) – Bungalow Hi really is a smorgasbord of ideas, styles and directions, but all married to that voice and that world weary way with a lyrical turn of phrase. Created, recorded and played almost entirely solo this is damn fine album and a timely reminder of how criminal it is that albums like this go missing in action whilst everyone happily stumps up cash for Ronan bloody Keating.


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Treva Whateva
Music’s Made Of Memories (Ninja Tune)

Treva WhatevaLet’s be honest here, you don’t have to read any further than the top line (see above) to realise that things are likely gonna get pretty zany, indeed those of you who rue the day that Bentley Rhythm Ace bit the dust or just can’t wait for the next instalment in the Avalanche’s endearing junk-shop sampledelic approach will find much to love here. Yes, there’s the odd clunker, but whether it’s music hall mashed into wooby ragga or ambient textures squeezed through a jazz fusion clatter or even Latin licks given a trance pasting the sheer depth of material on offer here is little short of breathtaking


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John Williams
Star Wars Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (Sony Classical)

Star Wars Episode IIISoundtrack music eh? Whether re-repackaged hits from teen films or genuinely new pieces that fail to engage stripped of their visual stimuli, very few composers successfully manage the leap from screen to stereo. George Lucas is no fool though and has once again left the music for the eagerly awaited sixth film in the Star Wars franchise in the reliable hands of John Williams. As an added incentive the CD comes with a bonus DVD Star Wars: A Musical Journey, featuring film excerpts and music from all six Star Wars soundtracks chronologically taking the viewer through the entire saga in 16 impressive movements.


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Features

features
Interviews with Supergrass, Ryan Adams, Mark Josephs and our features archive.
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****************** Live listings

live listings What's on and where Check the listings for all the latest news on where to go and why
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Demos

Possibly the most important demo page this side of a recording contract.
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DVD Reviews

features
Our roundup of all the latest DVD releases, top notch or bottom drawer we watch ‘em and then let you know if they’re fit to pop in yer slot
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****************** Class act


A full page monthly retrospective look at the most Influential acts from the last fiftyyears.
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Web site designed, built and maintained by Craig Goult at XUNY in association with CaPhun Ung at Phyo.net