‘Cause he’s got a voice that’d make Tom Waits go “damn man what did you do to yourself?!”, you can’t understand a word James Leg sings. More »

Alongside their regular albums, The Unthanks have released a series of “Diversions”; albums that focus on a particular theme or style.  The latest of these is How Wild The Wind Blows – The Songs And Poems Of Molly Drake.  Molly was the mother of legendary folk-rock singer songwriter Nick Drake and actress Gabrielle Drake.  Molly wrote her songs and poems purely as a form of self-expression, they were never intended for public consumption.  However, in response to Nick Drake’s enduring popularity, a selection of her songs recorded at home by her husband in the 1940’s was released as a limited edition album.  Now, with the support and assistance of Gabrielle, The Unthanks are bringing Molly’s songs and poems to a much wider audience. More »

“We’re not a tribute band; we are the real deal” says Tony Visconti about Holy Holy.  Given that he, in his role as David Bowie’s long-term producer,  and his band-mate, Spiders From Mars drummer Mick “Woody” Woodmansey, probably have more experience of working with the glam-era Bowie than anyone else alive, that is no hollow claim. More »

Eye liner running in sweaty smears down his cheeks, Razmo spasms like a preacher possessed by forces unknown. With octave-hopping vocal gymnastics he spits his lyrics (‘if I was an alligator, I’d be so snappy in conversation’) like a circus performer spits fire. The keyboardist hops from foot to foot, a joy-struck imp on a hot tin roof, all the while bassist Sebastian leans against the wall of The Thomas House’s basement venue, coolness made man. More »

A photo of Sinatra alongside Davis Jr and Dean Martin adorns the walls. The wallpaper is patterned with the Statue of Liberty and James Dean. Where you’d expect to see a domesticated rockabilly band or an alcoholism-riddled crooner onstage in this schlock ‘Merica-themed venue, there will soon be three of Ireland’s finest bands treading the boards underneath the cheap chandeliers. More »

Hifi Pig’s James Fleming heads up to Dublin and the salubrious surroundings that are The Workman’s Club to see and speak to Strength NIA. More »

It’s been twenty years since Madeleine Peyroux released her debut album, Dreamland.  Although the comparisons to Billie Holiday that dogged her initially have lessened, they haven’t totally evaporated either.  Peyroux does share a certain smokey tone with Holiday along with the ability to warp time with her phrasing, stretching vowels beyond breaking point or shoehorning syllables into the smallest of spaces with an ease that baffles belief.  Peyroux also shares Holiday’s ability to know a good song when she hears it;to inhabit it completely and make it her own.  A good song needs a good songwriter and tonight Peyroux will take songs by songwriters such as Tom Waits, Lennon & McCartney, Stephen Foster, Allan Toussaint, Leonard Cohen, Linton Kwesi Johnson  and Willie Dixon and turn them inside out. More »

Cambridge Folk festival has announce the first names for the 2017 festival.  More »

I only came across Sarah Jarosz a couple of weeks ago when I heard her excellent cover of Bob Dylan’s Simple Twist Of Fate from her album Build Me Up From Bones but I quickly fell in love with both the track and the album.  A quick Google revealed that she was playing here and so I had to go see her. More »

I hadn’t heard of Ezra Furman prior to last year’s Perpetual Motion People album which I described as my album of the summer.  I’m glad to say that its appeal has not waned and it still gets regular plays. I haven’t heard much about Ezra since the album’s release either, so I was quite surprised to learn that his gig here at The Liquid Room had sold out and I’m very grateful to Ezra’s management company for supplying a ticket at the last minute.  I was even more surprised to see that once Ezra and his band The Boy-Friends hit the stage that the majority of the audience were word perfect with not only the songs from Perpetual Motion People but with his earlier material as well.  More »

Every year Hifi Pig is invited to the Conservatoire de Musique at Saint-Brieuc in Brittany, France for an evening of jazz presented by the association Jazz Angle. It’s always an entertaining and well attended evening and, as relative newcomers to Jazz, it always throws up something new and unexpected that we’ve not heard before…and this year was no exception. More »

Steve Howe is, of course, the lead guitarist in Yes.  Although Yes were one of the main targets of the punk wars way back in the Seventies, the band has remained incredibly popular, despite line up changes and their own internal conflicts.  Even the sad passing of pivotal member, bass player Chris Squire, has not daunted them and the band will be setting sail once more, quite literally, as they headline their annual Cruise To The Edge cruise ship festival in February next year.  More »

Furnace Mountain are a four piece bluegrass band from northwestern Virginia.  Dave van Deventer on fiddle and vocals, Danny Knicely on fiddle, mandolin and vocals, Aimee Curl on bass and vocals and Morgan Morrison on bouzouki and vocals bring a modern twist to some old songs and tunes while providing plenty of their own. More »

Every now and again I go out at night and see a band that reminds me exactly why I go out at night to see bands.  The Stray Birds are one of those.  More »

It is rare for me to go to a gig specifically to see the support act but I made an exception for Fraser Anderson.  I had reviewed Fraser’s excellent album Under Cover Of Lightness earlier this year and has remained a regular listen. When I found out at the last minute that Fraser was gigging, I was determined to attend.   More »

Female electro poppers Marsheaux took their name from a portmanteau of the first syllables of their first names: Marianthi and Sophie.  Hailing from Thessaloniki, the girls moved to Athens to form the band.   Steeped in electronic pop music from the likes of Depeche Mode, The Human League, OMD, Soft Cell, New Order and Sparks, the girls have worked  to bring their own personality to their influences over the course of four previous studio albums and during this time  Marianthi and Sophie have also carved out a parallel career as remixers, reworking tracks by Katy Perry, Gwen Stefani, Kylie Minogue, Depeche Mode and Moby.  More »

Okay, I’m going to put this right out here.  I’m guilty.  I suspect I might be guilty of something that we may all be guilty of but I’m not going to use that as an excuse.  I’m guilty and I’m going to make a full confession.  So, here goes.  More »

Roy Harper may well be rock’s least well-known legend. The only non-band member to have sung a lead vocal on a Pink Floyd song (Have A Cigar from Wish You Were Here), he is also the subject of a Led Zeppelin song (Hats Off To (Roy) Harper).  David Gilmour, Paul And Linda McCartney and Kate Bush have guested on his albums and Bush, Peter Gabriel and This Mortal Coil have covered his songs.  More »

You may not have heard of the Crescendo festival that takes place each August in the beautiful French tourist resort of Saint Palais sur Mer in the Poitou Charente area of France, but it’s possibly the best organised festival I’ve ever attended and is in an absolutely magnificent setting on the cliff tops looking out to sea. There are very good campsites within 600m of the festival site, great restaurants and bars and the festival itself is safe, clean and attracts brilliant bands under the broad umbrella that is progressive rock. We visited first a few years ago when Hawkwind were headlining the Saturday night and this was sadly the last gig that their keyboard player Jason Stuart would ever play before he died. More »

In a former existence, Edinburgh’s Summerhall art space was a veterinary college.  Tonight’s gig is located in The Dissection Room and its tiled walls, linoleum floor and viewing gallery create a certain unsettling atmosphere that turns out to be quite appropriate.  Normally a standing venue, we’ve been provided with extraordinarily uncomfortable plastic chairs to sit on.  This is also apt as feeling uncomfortable is something of a theme for tonight’s entertainment.  More »

Amtrak’s Texas Eagle train runs from Chicago to Los Angeles, covering 2,728 miles and taking  just under 67 hours to complete its journey.  Tonight Billy Bragg and Joe Henry are showcasing a set of songs that they recorded when they took that trip together in March this year. More »