I’ve been a fan of Hopkins’ work for a number of years.  The eagle-eyed amongst you will already be aware that Hopkins has previously worked with Coldplay and his track “Light Through The Veins” was reworked into what became the introduction to opening track “Life In Technicolor” from Coldplay’s album ‘Viva la Vida Or Death And All His Friends’. More »

The sleeve notes for Eye’s Of Blue’s Crossroads Of Time opens with a bit of an odd one “Sometimes a band can anticipate history to their own detriment. There is such a thing of being too far ahead of the game and finding everyone else is still playing by the old school rules…The story of Welsh band Eyes of Blue is such a case in point”. More »

When I was a youth I had the door to my bedroom painted with all psychedelic patterns, dragons, mushrooms and the like. Somewhere on the door I also had a poem that started “I am Bufo bufo, not yet rested from the great work” and on the frame over the door I had “It’s an ill wind that blows no minds”. I’m sure my parents must have been very proud, if not a little concerned about my mental wellbeing.  The year the tunes on this collection came out I was born, but I’ve always been drawn to the whole hippy vibe…man, and love the music of this era; mostly it has to be said the music that came out of the US scene. More »

The Tomcats were a British R&B/Mod band formed in Ealing in 1965 but it is in Spain they were most well known. The story goes that just before they were about to make it big on the R&B scene in London the band jumped in a van (bought by one of the band’s mum) and headed for Madrid. More »

This month, John Scott revisits the 1968 classic from Pink Floyd, Saucerful Of Secrets. More »

This months offering from él records was recorded in 1956 and is Michel Legrand’s homage to the French capital where he was born in 1932. You may not necessarily know the name but you are sure to know some of his tunes as he’s got around 200 film scores to his credit and if you’re still struggling you will certainly know Dusty Springfield’s version of Windmills Of Your Mind which is another of his tunes. More »

Lyn Stanley is the darling of the audiophile community and she certainly knows how to press our collective buttons to get us all in a lather over her recordings. Not content with just releasing her music on CD, she also releases her output on Reel2Reel and very high quality vinyl too – you may have even caught one of her live performances at High-End Munich (Lyn featured on the front cover of Hifi Pig’s coverage of High End 2015) and other audio shows.  More »

Howard Massey knows a thing or two about the music industry and is a long-time music journo and consultant to the pro-audio side of things. He’s been a touring/session musician, songwriter, recording engineer and producer, not to mention having written a dozen or so books used in recording school curricula including Behind The Glass and Behind The Glass Volume II. So his credentials for putting together The Great British Recording Studios would seem to be well and truly in order. More »

Choose a word from the following: Warped, debased, putrid, twisted. And one from these: Brilliance, originality, ingenuity, inventiveness. And there you have this album pretty much reviewed and condensed into two words. For the record I’d have gone for “Twisted Brilliance” for this is what you have here. Let Me Hang You is not for the faint of heart or those easily offended, but then William Burroughs reading some of his most outrageously degenerate but simultaneously entertaining and unsettling passages from his Naked Lunch novel of 1959 was never going to be. If you don’t know Naked Lunch then look it out and devour it before it consumes you! More »

Marc E. Smith’s The Fall divide opinion perhaps like no other band I can think of. On the one hand you have a devoted to the point of obsession fanboys, whilst on the other you have folk that just don’t get them. I fall (no pun intended) somewhere in the middle which is a bit of a cop out some may say. I do sort of understand the attraction of the band that formed in Manchester in 1976 and whose sole constant member is Smith, but then I buy their records and then think…why?

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Continuing what has been a particularly cosmopolitan set of review CDs this month we have this album from the él stable. Nope, I’ve not come across the singer before and this is part of the reason I love él; never afraid to dig out the obscure and interesting and release it on the unsuspecting music loving public. More »

This has been an absolutely huge record in France achieving the highest week one sales in fourteen years and going Double Platinum in its first week of sales. I wasn’t expecting this to land on my desk and when youngest son saw it he declared it rubbish…though I strongly suspect he’s only heard snippets, or none at all. More »

Between 1980 and 1985 Britain was experiencing a bit of a psychedelic revival and Another Splash Of Colour expands on the original album A Splash Of Colour issued in’82 and highlights many of the bands of the Nu Psych scene from that era. All the tracks from the original album are present and correct and appear here on CD for the first time ever. If you weren’t privy to the scene then many of the names herein will be new to you…as some are to me. Mood Six, High Tide, Miles Over Matter, The Barracudas and The Times are all included.

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Fearing that the world is heading to hell in a handcart, John Scott takes refuge in T Rex’s Electric Warrior. More »

DISCO is big at Hifi Pig Towers and many a Saturday night is spent strutting our stuff around the listening room…there’s even talk of us getting a mirror-ball. So what better than this album by all girl three piece that had a huge hits in ’79 with Strut Your Funky Stuff (you’ll know it of course!) and their follow up “Getting Serious”. More »

Out on the 29th July I’m A Freak Baby is really going to appeal to a certain kind of person…and I count myself in with this lot. As a teen I had hair down my back, wore an Afghan coat, stank of patchouli oil and listened to psych rock and heavy rock from the late 60s and early 70s, so when this landed on my desk I was a bit giddy with nostalgia and keen to give it a play. More »

You may have recently read about two girls from Norfolk who look uncannily similar but are, in fact, unrelated.  Rosa and Jenny are both 17, met when they were 4 years’ old and have been inseparable ever since.  Together, they make music under the moniker Let’s Eat Grandma.  Whether or not you enjoy their debut album really comes down to whether you like their mixture of darkness and light.  Oh, and their voices. More »

Summer is here, in the upper half of the hemisphere, at least. Time to bare some flesh – that’s enough, thank you – slap on the factor 30, pour a long drink, lie back and relax as John Scott provides the perfect summer playlist.   More »

Scott Wainwright hails from Barnsley, as do I, and so I was really keen to give this album a listen. He describes himself on his Facebook profile as “Maverick Blues, Gospel and Hip Hop Musician. Husband and Father. Thinker, Optimist, Man of Faith” and if anything I’d have added “a bit quirky” to that list too. I follow Scott on Facebook and he never seems not to be playing a gig somewhere or other and he’s going to be playing at the North West Audio Show at the end of June too and I’m really looking forward to seeing him live. More »

John Scott makes the most of the sunshine (well, it was shining when he started to write this) and listens to Linton Kwesi Johnson’s 1980 reggae classic.    More »

Fraser Anderson has been a father, a son, a brother and a husband. All of these relationships inform his songs as he sings about love, loss and loyalty.  The ties that stretch and fray as they bind us to others.  Anderson was born in Edinburgh and cut his musical teeth as a drummer in hip hop bands.  A meeting with Scottish musical institution Dougie McLean drew him into the folk world.  Moving to France with his young family, Anderson crafted his songs while working in kitchens and on building sites, building a fan base through local gigs.  Returning to the Uk in 2013, Anderson immersed himself in Bristol’s musical melting pot.  Now with three albums behind him Anderson has released his best album yet, the crowd funded Under The Cover Of Lightness.  More »

According to Howard Massey in his excellent book “The Great British Studios”, half speed mastering originally came about when John Lennon arrived in the Apple cutting room to master his new 45 “Power To The People” and wanted it “loud”. As a result the engineers came up with the ingenious idea of cutting the disc at half speed. This meant playing back the master tape at half speed and having the cutting lathe cut at half speed too, resulting in the engineers being able to get more level on the acetate but “with much better bass too”. More »

I’ve had this album on MP3 promo for a good while now and it’s a great piece of historical documentation of the underground, DIY electronic movement that took place between 75 and 84. It’s a sprawling four CD set with 61tracks and around 9000 words of sleevenotes by Dave Henderson of MOJO. You’ll know some of the names herein (Human League, OMD and Blancmange) but it’s the other, less well known bands that really make this album the gem that it is. More »

Following the recent tragic demise of Prince, John Scott takes a look at what he considers The Artist Formerly Known As’ masterpiece, Sign O The Times. More »

There’s a bit of a buzz around reel to reel recordings at the moment and the number of audiophiles and music lovers taking up the format is clearly on the rise…and in response there are a growing number of companies offering up reel to reel recordings to cater to their needs. Step up to the plate STS Digital from The Netherlands and headed up by the lovely Fritz and Netty de With. More »

This dropped on my desk a couple of months ago and I really wasn’t expecting much of it. It’s from a period of music that wasn’t great in my opinion and from an artist I admit I’d heard nothing of previously. And so it stayed in its protective covering for longer than it really should. In a fit of not being able to find a CD I wanted to play in the car I grabbed this and was rather pleased I did. More »

I like Tangerine Dream a lot and it’s fair to say they are probably the first music that wasn’t mainstream pop that I was exposed to in my early teens. I used to babysit for my cousin and her Father (my Uncle) Keith had an interesting record collection that I used to dip into whenever I was there. Tangerine Dream were a mainstay of his collection, along with Kraftwerk and a host of other more “out there” and avant-garde musicians that I otherwise would not have had the opportunity to hear. More »

Club Homage, out on the 29th April, follows on from Somerville’s (yes, he of Bronski Beat and The Communards fame) disco album of last year called “Homage”. Now I’m a bit of a sucker for disco and love some of the people who are involved in remixing some of the tracks from Homage for Club Homage – TomMoulton, Felix Gauder, Robbie Leslie, John Winfield and Sebus & Larzo – so was well pleased when this CD (in limited, black vinyl effect) landed on my desk. More »

Most readers who have heard the name Alan Davey will naturally associate him as the bass player for space-rock stalwarts Hawkwind where he manned the bass from 1984 to 1996 and the again between 2001 and 2007. But he’s had loads of other projects away from Hawkwind including Bedouin, Ace Of Spades, Gunslinger, Eclectic Devils and The Psychedelic Warlords. He’s probably my favourite bass player… period and so I got myself both the double vinyl copy and the CD release of this album.  More »

If you’re lucky enough to be living on a remote tropical island, then it’s likely that you’ve never heard of Tim Hecker.  Admittedly, I was a late starter myself, picking up on Tim’s work only after he’d released his sixth album, the ground-breaking “Ravedeath, 1972”, much of which was recorded on a church organ.  Tim’s now moved across to 4AD Records for “Love Streams”, which should hopefully extend his listener base quite considerably.

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Ray Lamontagne first came to my attention with his 2004 Trouble album which was rooted in the Americana movement and was influenced by Tupelo Honey-era Van Morrison.  It was a very enjoyable album as was its follow up Till The Sun Turns Black.  After that though, Lamontagne disappeared from my radar and I failed to keep up with his music. More »

Way back in 1984 – was it really 31 years ago? – Los Lobos’  album How Will The Wolf Survive? quickly became one of my favourites and has remained so over the years.  Despite that, although I have a smattering of other records by the band in my collection, I’m guilty of not having paid close attention to all of the band’s output over the years. More »

It is not unusual for a band to start off as one thing and end up being an entirely different beast.  The Beatles went from lovable mop tops to hairy psychedelicists , and don’t we love them for it.  When Steve Hackett left Genesis, it seemed unlikely that massive queues of people would line up to urinate in their direction should they spontaneously combust.  They went on, however, to become world-straddling pop chart toppers.  I’m pretty sure that happened although maybe it was just a bad dream I had after eating too much stilton. More »

Released in 2014 Syro is certainly not a new album and it came 11 years after the previous Aphex Twin record, which is a long time to wait for any die-hard fan or follower. I remember his previous album entitled ‘Druqks’ received mixed reviews, mainly due to the inconsistency of decent full length tracks. As a strange run-through concept album however, I thought the album was strong and that it felt like a glitchy-beat journey interspersed with fragments and recordings of his life. More »

Steven Wilson is an artist I only recently discovered about a year ago, mainly through his 4th album ‘Hand. Cannot. Erase’. This newest release entitled ‘4 1/2’ is named because it’s the mini album between his 4th and 5th, made up of a mixture of new material and tracks that didn’t make it onto his previous albums. More »

The Vinyl Collection brings together seven studio albums recorded by Deep Purple between 1972 and 1987, these albums being: Machine Head, Who Do We Think We Are, Burn, Stormbringer, Come Taste The Band, Perfect Strangers and The House Of Blue Light. More »

For this month’s Classic Album, John Scott engages warp drive and blasts off into space in the company of Hawkwind and their epic Space Ritual album. More »

From my musical perspective, i’ve been noticing artists coming back into their music stride after many years of being quiet, or some new artists putting their musical twist on old classics. The internet has got a lot to do with this, as well as the close interaction we have between artist and fan. Twinned with the resurgence of vinyl, some artists seem to be borrowing musical styles or bringing ‘album etiquette’ from the past back into their work. Below i’ve reviewed 4 different artists who either bring something new to the table, or have re-packaged old songs/albums in an interesting way.   More »

That’s correct, the band is actually called LNZNDRF.  That’s kind of because it comprises of three members – Ben Lanz (from Beirut), Scott Devendorf and Bryan Devendorf (both from The National), i.e. Lanz ‘n’ Dorf, geddit?  Okay, it’s not as snappy a title as, say, CHVRCHES or ALVVAYS – but at least they stood a good chance of registering an internet domain name! More »

It’s with a good degree of anticipation and trepidation that I pressed play when the promo for this new album by space rock stalwarts Hawkwind arrived on my desk this damp and miserable Friday afternoon. I’m a huge Hawkwind fan, seen them loads of times and have a shelf dedicated just to their CDs on the rack…and a good few of their albums on vinyl too… and I so didn’t want this to be a rehash or a remix of old tunes. I needn’t have worried as this is Hawkind as I like them best. More »

This month John Scott continues his Classic Album series and takes a look back at David Bowie’s The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars. What else?  More »

I first became aware of the film Whiplash when Mr and Mrs Pig both raved about it on Facebook so I was delighted when my son’s girlfriend arrived home one evening with the DVD. Whiplash is indeed a terrific film.  I won’t give away too much about the story but basically a talented young jazz drummer is driven almost to breaking point by his music college teacher.  It’s a bit like a jazz version of Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket.  Full Metal Jazz Cat maybe.  Or maybe not.  More »

Pure Hell, very much a punk band in the original form, hail from Philadelphia and were active in New York from 74 to 78 along with the likes of New York Dolls. Their sound is inspired, as many bands of this time were, by The Stooges and The MC5.

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The title of Darlene Love’s latest album is of course ironic.  Darlene had her first hit in 1962 with He’s A Rebel as the lead singer of The Blossoms, although the single was credited to the better-known Crystals who were out on tour and were unavailable to record the song at the time.  He’s A Rebel, Today I Met The Boy I’m Going To Marry and Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), all recorded under the direction of Phil Spector, have ensured Love’s immortality in the pop firmament.  With Introducing Darlene Love, she shows signs of perhaps actually being immortal – this is a  74 year old woman  belting out songs with the vigour of someone half her age.  More »

Space Rock, I LOVE Space Rock and Spirit’s Burning are a bit of a who’s who of the genre. The albums are put together from a disparate group of over 45 musicians all overseen at a distance by American producer Don Falcone.

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