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Album Reviews
Tom Jones Long Lost Suitcase
Carrying a Suitcase is designated as the third in a trilogy of Jones albums, following 2010’s Praise and Blame and Spirit in the Room (2012). It’s certainly passable enough, and the versions of Lonnie Johnson’s Tomorrow Night and Jesse Fuller’s Raise a Ruckus do the songs justice. But I’m mired in the nostalgia trap lurking in the Green Grass of Home, where It’s Not Unusual to want to hear Tom Jones sing What’s New Pussycat. Nevertheless, he steps up boldly to the plate to cover things like The Rolling Stones’ Factory Girl, Gillian Welch’s Elvis Presley Blues and Willie Nelson’s Opportunity to Cry. Passable. P K
Girl Band - Holding Hands with Jamie
Is Girl Band’s debut album some kind of loud, obnoxious joke? The Dublin fourpiece's sound is angular, atonal and harsh. Their lyrics are mostly scatter shot gibberish sang in agitated vocal tics and hell-bent hysteria but Holding Hands With Jamie is utterly riveting and Girl Band are like nothing else in music right now.
These are songs about full-blown mental collapse set to a maelstrom of howling guitars, hyper-tensile atmospherics and industrial noise rock dynamics. At the centre of it all is eight-minute sonic meltdown Paul - a truly physical experience on an album full of physical experiences.
Somewhere in the eye of this hurricane of distortion and calculated mischief, these mavericks locate the shining heart of beauty every time. Girl Band kick against the pricks with a manic look in their eye. Holding Hands With Jamie will leave you reeling, bruised and battered. Some joke. Alan Corr
Richard Hawley: Hollow Meadows ****
Like a more agreeable Morrissey, Yorkshire pop philosopher Richard Hawley appeals to our better, more human natures on his delicious eighth album. Hollow Meadows shimmers into life with the beatific I Still Want You, a torch song that reveals Hawley’s voice is showing age - it cracks and that baritone takes on an even darker hue. It suits him. On the standout track, The World Looks Down, he gently but sadly chides us for our smart phone oblivion; we are all staring at our screens when we should be dreaming about the stars. Hollow Meadows is a sumptuous, spacey trip that flickers with dark truths - if it’s balm for the soul you’re looking for, apply this liberally. Alan Corr
Stefano Battaglia In The Morning
In this live recording from April 2014 at Teatro Vittoria in Torino, the Italian pianist Stefano Battaglia and his trio interpret the work of American composer Alec Wilder (1907 – 1980), the celebrated songwriter who was a friend of Frank Sinatra and Peggy Lee.
Hamasyan; Yerevan Chamber Choir

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