Paul Roland, “In The Opium Den” (Cherry Red) - This fascinating 2 CD retrospective provides a comprehensive overview of cult English songwriter Roland’s early recorded output, including his first three albums plus A and B sides, EP tracks and hitherto unreleased gems from the period between 1980 and 1987. This master of the macabre and mysterious was once hailed as “the Edgar Allan Poe of psychopop,” and newcomers to his unashamedly literary creative vision would be well advised to lend an unprejudiced ear to eloquently gothic gems such as “Witchfinder General,” “Werewolves of London “ or “The Ghoul.”
Dick Dale, “Live on the Santa Monica Pier” (Retroworld) - This majestic live offering captures legendary surf guitarist Dick Dale in his natural element as he regales his enthusiastic Californian audience with the cream of his illustrious back catalogue. These visceral mid nineties recordings find Dale in typically fiery form, with the left handed musician wielding his trusty Fender Stratocaster upside down as he launches into the trailblazing instrumental workouts which had helped to make his name during the pre Beatles era, including “Miserlou,” “Shake’n’Stomp” and “Let’s Go Trippin’,” which the late John Peel adopted as the theme tune for his RadioFour show, “Home Truths.”
The Liminanas, “Malamore” (Because Music) - Marie and Lionel Liminanas wear their impeccable musical influences proudly on their collective sleeves as the gifted Gallic duo unveil “Malamore,” their fourth and arguably their finest album to date. Echoes of the Velvet Underground, Serge Gainsbourg and sixties psychedelia peremeate the proceedings and the French combo were also able to enlist the services of bassist Peter Hook of Joy Division and New Order fame to supply the rhythmic backbone for one of the package’s standout tracks, the dreamlike “Garden Of Love.”
Janine Jansen / Antonio Pappano, “Brahms : Violin Concerto, Bartok: Violin Concerto No.1” (Decca Classics) - This fine new Decca CD captures the fruits of a richly rewarding new collaboration between violinist Janine Jansen and highly regarded BritishItalian conductor Antonio Pappano. The rousing Brahms masterwork has been assembled from three live performances which Jansen and her trusty Stradivarius gave in Rome last year, contrasting beautifully with Bartok’s lyrical and folk influenced creation, which is actually structured much more like a rhapsody than an orthodox violin concerto.