Not one for shelving

After moving from the coast of North Devon 5 years ago, folk singer Jess Hall (no relation, before you start crying nepotism…) has certainly not forgotten her roots on debut album Bookshelves. Classically trained and from a musical family, Hall has an undeniably stunning voice and her captivatingly pure vocals have seen her quickly established […]

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Reeling them in

With drinks dripping off the low ceiling, an average of three (visible) piercings per audience member and an enthusiastic warm-up by Less Than Jake, the O2 was transformed from a corner of miserably-rainy Cowley Road into a slice of alternative Californian sunshine. Reel Big Fish are the champions of fusing lyrics about jealousy, relationship hell, […]

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Taylor-ed to perfection

In a world where there are more female artists than one can count, it takes more than just a good album to make the artist: for Taylor Swift, an her ability to write hit after hit has kept her from disappearing into the crowd (tabloid image aside). So as a fan genuinely determined to like […]

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Sorting The Men from the boys

Sacred Bones is one of those special, rare labels which shows faith in its artists. They put out whatever they want – reissues of forgotten 80s British punk (UV Pop), twisted folk (Cult of Youth) or even danceable psyche (Moon Duo) – and believe in those they sign, including The Men. When they released Leaving […]

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Not quite having a whale of a time

The title of London grungers Whales in Cubicles’ debut, Death in the Evening, would seem off-puttingly bleak to some. And, although it’s true that, lyrically and sonically, the album’s ten tracks lean towards the darker end of the spectrum (see the video for ‘All the Pretty Flowers’ for further verification), it’s not a purely black […]

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Tracks of the Week

Gilligan Moss – ‘Choreograph‘ This song is a beautiful patchwork, constantly mutating as it slides between different beats and textures with alarming ease. The stunning melodies rival those of Four Tet while the tribal vocal build-ups align it with some of John Talabot’s fIN. With ‘Choreograph’, Gilligan Moss has created one of the most exciting […]

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Broken Bells ring true

Whoever said “opposites attract” clearly had Broken Bells in mind. The two man band, consisting of one half of Gnarls Barkley, Brian Burton (alias Danger Mouse), and his unlikely partner, James Mercer of The Shins, smashed any preconceptions about the incompatibility of musical spheres through their hugely underappreciated, eponymous debut album of 2010. Now, after […]

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Hitting the right notes

Tyler Hay, a talented 19-year-old pianist studying at the Royal Northern College of Music (studying on a double full scholarship) presented a formidable programme in his recital at St. Catherine’s College Music House last week: Beethoven’s Sonata in E Major Opus 109 and Chopin’s 12 etudes opus 25, both pieces meaning serious business for pianists […]

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With a Spring in their step

Pulsing with nervous energy, the members of rising Oxford band Spring Offensive ripple through the crowd in the Cellar, chatting animatedly to family, friends and fans alike. The nerves are perhaps understandable; tonight’s show is a special preview of their debut album, Young Animal Hearts, though given the resounding success of its production, the 5-piece […]

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