Arriving in Southeast Asia over fifteen years ago, Simon of Koh Samui Events has since held many residencies in Thailand including a 5 year stint at the Full Moon Party. You can catch Simon Solo in one of his many residencies on Koh Samui, whether busting out banging house at Bar Solo or playing poolside vocal house and soul jams at Beach Republic.
Fans of this quirky San-Fransiscan folk harpist and indie darling should have no problem loving her fourth studio album. It has all of the trademark “Joanna” idiosyncracies that we’ve all come to expect – ethereal floating and jarring vocals, complex rhythmical melodies and whimsical lyrics that take multiple listens to decipher.
Despite not breaking any new ground since her epic “Have One On Me”, Divers does deliver a beautiful arrangement of additional musicians which help pitch this as her most dynamic sounding album. The first half in particular veers between baroque poise, jaunty blues, and rococo beauty, as if searching for answers in disparate places. Essentially, it’s an album of profound love that mysteriously contains no love songs… Something perhaps only Joanna Newsom could achieve. Songs to play on repeat are the opener “Anectdote” and “You Will Not Take My Heart Alive”. If you’re new to Newsom’s music then I would suggest giving this a quick listen before finding and indulging heavily in her back catalogue, chronologically – as Divers may prove a little disorientating to new ears. 3.5/5
The Annual 2016
Ministry of Sound
I sat down to listen to this expecting something great, what I have come to realise is MOS is now just a huge money making machine churning out anything to get sales. As such I was bitterly disappointed. The once precious nightclub with global appeal, known for epic club nights has become rather dull and predicable. In years gone by when clubs released mix CD’s (yes actually mixed by DJs rather than computers) you could expect to be taken on a musical journey. They felt like a club set. If it was a double CD one would get played more than the other, and sometimes when your tastes changed the other become your go to music fix. Moments of nostalgia are provoked when you mention Sahsa and Digweeds Renaissance mix or the James Lavelle classic Fabric Live mix.
This, however, is shameless. Every big track since their last cd was released has been included. There is no flow and unfortunately, no class at all. Awful 1/5
Live Lounge 2015
BBC Radio 1
Pleasantly surprised listening through the tracks on this album. Naturally I had presumed that this would be another bunch of covers. Well it is kinda, but BBC Radio One style. I should known better really. In a world full of commercial rubbish, Radio 1 have really upped their game and are back at the forefront of everything cool that is coming at of the UK. Did you see their night at the Proms?
As a budding DJ I listened to Pete Tong as a kid and still enjoy his radio show to this day nearly 20 years later. Watching him compare an unbelievably well produced evening with that wealth of talent was quite incredible. The names on this album leave you in no doubt that the best artists in the world want to perform for the BBC and give a well rounded variety of tunes. My personal favourites on the album are Ship To Wreck by Florence and The Machine and Disclosure’s Hotline Bling. Another covers compilation sure, but in a vastly different league from the rest. 4/5
Carrie & Lowell
Any new release by this American alt-folk multi-instrumentalist is an exciting prospect. Whether it’s the eclectic epic storytelling of Michigan or Illinois, the avant-garde musings of Enjoy Your Rabbit or the ubiquitous charm of any of his Christmas offerings. One thing for sure is you’ll be in for a treat with delicate arrangements and hauntingly beautiful lyrics that swing wildly from faith and love to death and morbid fascination.
Stripped bare in a return to the Seven Swans days (in my opinion his quiet masterpiece), Carrie & Lowell is Sufjan’s most intimate album to date, taking us on a personal journey of his own childhood, with horror stories of Carrie, his mentally unstable mother and Lowell, the Stepfather who somewhat saved the family and ultimately inspired Sufjan to create his record label. An album far removed from the orchestras and soundscapes of the past, Carrie & Lowell is a boy, his guitar, a sincere voice and an incredble ability to weave beautiful stories. And as far as I’m concerned, with Sufjan Stevens that is more than enough to produce perfection. 5/5