Here are the latest music reviews by our columnist, Kevin Bryan.
Belle and Sebastian, “Girls in Peacetime Want To Dance” (Matador Records) - The eagerly anticipated new album from Stuart Murdoch’s beguiling indie pop outfit was apparently influenced by their recent exposure to the delights of vintage Detroit techno and the collected works of disco supremo Giorgio Moroder. The Glasgow group’s ninth studio album was recorded at Maze Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, marrying their wistful songwriting sensibilities to some exhilarating dance rhythms on stand-out tracks such as “Enter Sylvia Plath” and “Play For Today” as they deliver their most vivid and outgoing offering to date.
Bridget St.John, “Dandelion Albums & BBC Recordings Collection” (Cherry Red Records)- Bridget’s delicately poetic musings on the human condition captured the heart of the late John Peel when he first came across her work in the late 60s, and the hugely influential DJ actually produced her 1969 debut album, “Ask Me No Questions,” after signing the singer-songwriter to his Dandelion label. This splendid anthology brings together the three albums that she recorded for this short-lived and determinedly uncommercial venture, along with a generous helping of live tracks and performances culled from BBC sessions between 1968 and 1972.
“Zang Tuum Tumb - The Value of Entertainment” (Union Square Music)- 1985 saw Paul Morley’s innovative ZTT label release their first compilation album in the shape of “IQ6 Sampled,” and this milestone was also marked with a series of concerts at The Ambassadors Theatre in London featuring performers such Art of Noise, Anne Pigalle and Propaganda. This absorbing audio-visual package brings together the two events on CD and DVD for the first time, showcasing gems such as Propaganda’s haunting rendition of the Velvet Underground’s “Femme Fatale” and Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s live re-vamp of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born To Run” to name but a few.
Wilbur de Paris, “Hot Mustard” (Nimbus Retrospective) - This effortlessly entertaining 2CD set focuses attention on the cream of Wilbur de Paris’ musical output between 1952 and 1960, highlighting the blend of New Orleans jazz and Swing which made him such a popular performer during this period. Wilbur’s unflagging determination to expand the boundaries of traditional jazz helped to breathe new life into the genre during the post war era and some fine examples of his work are gathered together here,including much loved old favourites such as “Beale Street Blues, “ “Muskrat Ramble” and the infectious “Twelfth Street Rag.”