Queens of the Stone Age Album Review – Villains

Friday 25th August 2017

5/10 stars

Photo: Press

Queens of the Stone Age frontman Joshua Homme is a virtuoso of the sex-rock guitar riff; when I saw him play live with Iggy Pop last year, his Herculean performance of classics like “Sixteen” and “Funtime” might have done what no other guitarist has done yet – cuckold the late Ron Asheton. But the old adage says that great craftsmanship doesn’t always make great art, and whether he’s bolstering the creative weight of Iggy Pop or even Alex Turner, it’s hard not to think that Homme’s most soul-affirming music has always come from the vision of these more discerning songwriters. At their best, I daresay Queens of the Stone Age can be ‘fun’, and yet their songs certainly never engage you beyond the fugacious joy of a thundering guitar riff.

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The Sherlocks Album Review – Live For The Moment

Tuesday 15th August 2017

2/10 stars

thesherlocks_750_123Photo: Press

“Most epic poets plunge “in media res” … That is the usual method, but not mine”. My intention was to think of a cheeky Sherlock Holmes-related pun to really get this album review rolling. But, dear reader, after about five minutes of serious introspection it occurred to me that I’d probably spent way more time than The Sherlocks had trying to think of an original way I could introduce a tiny ray of sunshine into your humdrum lives – so in the end I didn’t bother.

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Images from Sylvia Plath’s personal life help shine a light on the diversity of her literary output

Monday 14th August 2017

1218815Photo: dazeddigital.com

A piece I wrote for Dazed Digital on the One Life: Sylvia Plath exhibition at Washington’s National Portrait Gallery.

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Blissfields 2017 Review

Monday 10th July 2017

Headliners Metronomy and The Cinematic Orchestra stepped triumphantly up to the mark, but the smaller acts deserved far greater recognition than they got at this year’s Blissfields Festival

Photo: Niall Green

The attendance at Blissfields has increased continually since its conception in 2001, a fact due in no small part to its consistently eclectic, if not entirely discerning, musical line-ups. Vanguards of modern British music like Tricky and Super Furry Animals have played here, as did Wolf Alice and Laura Marling in their formative years, but an unfortunate preponderance of “Radio Friendly Unit Shifters” have also been invited to perform at the Hampshire festival, ensuring that it always attracts both music fans and veritable non-fans alike.

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The Orielles Live Review – DM’s Boot Room, Camden

Friday 30th June 2017

Photo: Press

“By the pricking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes” – a guitar band is playing a gig in the back of a shoe store in Camden. Is someone, somewhere, trying to exhume the tired corpse of an old music scene? No, curb your cynicism – ‘cos the guitar band is called The Orielles, and they’re one of the best new groups to emerge from England’s dreaming this year.

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