Andrew Bird — Noble Beast

This is a purchase that I made experimentally. A few months ago I was accumulating a hefty order on Boomkat, and I was within touching distance of getting the free postage for spending £50 or more. But I couldn’t work out what to buy. So I put it to Twitter, and Twitter made the decision […]

Buddha Machine II

A few years ago I wrote about the Buddha Machine, a charming little plastic box that emits ethereal music. It is an interesting object, mostly because the nine loops that it can play are so other-worldly and, despite their brevity, infinitely fascinating. Which is just as well, because they will repeat endlessly. Well, until you […]

Music of 2008: Top ten

10. Stereolab — Chemical Chords This is more or less what you would expect from Stereolab. Fantastically jaunty and slightly idiosyncratic pop songs. This is hardly Stereolab’s best album (and I say that as someone who has only heard three of them), but it is a joy nonetheless. 9. David Byrne and Brian Eno — […]

Music of 2008: #25–#11

At the end of every year I write a post ranking my favourite music releases of the year. But for 2008 I was very busy, and I had other things I wanted to write about more. Now that it’s February, I think I’d really better get on with it. I know not many people will […]

The Fiery Furnaces — Remember

You wouldn’t expect The Fiery Furnaces to do anything in the conventional way. When their debut album, Gallowsbird’s Bark, was released in 2003, they were seen almost as being part of the same scene as The White Stripes. There was the bluesy-rock element to the thing, then the fact that both bands were a brother–sister […]

Squarepusher — Just a Souvenir

The premise of Just a Souvenir is most intriguing. “This album started as a daydream about watching a crazy, beautiful rock band play an ultra-gig,” says Tom Jenkinson on his website. He goes on to describe the mad japes that the band got up to in his daydream, setting out a vision of an eccentric, […]

A casual coffee lover’s review of the AeroPress

I like to think that it is a function of my age rather than my popularity that I got only one birthday present this year! If I stretch the concept a bit, it was announced on my birthday that Formula 1 coverage was moving back to the BBC. But not even I am egotistical enough […]

How not to review music

I was going to to a track-by-track review of Quaristice. Pinksy asked what it sounds like, which is quite a tough question to answer. I was tempted to give it a shot though. But I think I will give the track-by-track review a miss — in case I end up sounding like this. It already […]

Music of 2007: top three

Yesterday I promised that I would finally get round to posting my top three albums of 2007 today. I almost forgot about it because I was having so much fun writing my dissertation (true story). But a promise is a promise, so I am staying up extra late. I’m sure it won’t take long… 3. […]

Music of 2007: #10–#4

At last! I have got round to the top ten. Was it worth it? Probably not. Next (i.e. this) year, I am only doing the top 20, I swear… 10. Hanne Hukkelberg — Rykestrasse 68 A neat album of playfully experimental jazzy folky songs. The interesting but subtle use of found sounds makes Rykestrasse 68 […]