OUR music critics give their verdicts on the latest longplayer releases
Desert Harvest Records, £10.99
Pleasantly pastoral, this solo effort from the male Stone sibling does nothing to suggest sister Julia was holding him back. Aussie Angus takes no major risks in his unassuming debut, lilting gently from the opening River Love to the closing Clouds Above without ever breaking into a rockier pace. Atmospherics are the album’s strong point, with The Blue Door and Apprentice Of The Rocketman the most successful. It Was Blue flirts with old school blues metal riffing without ever really getting its hands dirty, and End Of The World holds back from total commitment. Nice, when a bit of nasty might have been called for.
Download this: It Was Blue, End Of The World
Jeff The Brotherhood
WEA, (internet sales only)
An artful blend of the poppier Ramones with the airier inclinations of Weezer, this album sees real life brothers Jake and Jamin Orrall turn out an endlessly likeable pile of slacker rock. Hypnotic Mind tries hard to come across dim but can’t hide the musical smarts, Sixpack is a three chord wonder that swoops and soars beyond those confines, while Mystic Portal has the vitality of the young Wilson brothers with added psycho swagger. Great guitar sounds too.
Download this: Sixpack, Mystic Portal
Scott Hamilton & Harry Allen
Challenge Records CR73348, £12.99
This reunion of two great US tenor saxophonists is very much a meeting of minds. Allen was strongly influenced by Hamilton as he grew up, but rather than coming across as an imitator, his unique, immediately identifiable sound – wispy, yet rough – complements Hamilton’s full-bodied, rich tone. They lead a super-swinging trio featuring ace pianist Rossano Sportiello through nine tracks which, surprisingly for them, include only one ballad.
Download this: My Melancholy Baby, How Am I To Know
Ground Of Its Own
The Nest Collective Records TNCR001CD, £12.99
A measured re-interpretation of the British way with old tales, in song, but with often minimalist, mixed, intelligent and unusual accompaniment, this album is a celebration of the enduring vitality of tradition, especially of the travellers, those families, clans and tribes of tinklers and wanderers who kept so much of the ancient ballads and stories alive through to the modern era. Lee has a marvellous and rich singing voice – quite a contrast to his mentor, Aberdeen’s late tradition bearer Stanley Robertson, to whom the album is dedicated. And revel in Jane Turriff’s great vocals (recorded 1969) at the end.
Download this: Ballad Of George Collins
Johann Sebastian Bach
Ich Hatte Viel Bekmmeris: Works For Oboe
ECM 2229, £13.99
JS Bach was a serial re-user of his own compositions, never more so than in the case of works written originally for wind instruments, such as the oboe or the violin. Many movements in his cantatas and compositions for the organ actually started out as something else, and attempts to reconstruct lost originals, drawing on Bach’s compositional and arrangement techniques, continue to attract performers and academics alike.
This recording focuses on “recovered” Bach, and can only be described as “mellifluous” throughout: Heinz Holliger’s technique on the oboe and oboe d’amore is thoroughly assured, allowing the listener to melt entirely into its well-balanced mix of concertos and sinfonias.
Bach’s music might not normally be thought of as summer fare, but this is definitely a CD that deserves an afternoon’s open-air listening, assuming the weather holds.
Download this: Concerto In D minor: Allegro
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Weather for Edinburgh
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 4 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 17 mph
Wind direction: North east