heard on the wire

I’ve seen a million things


There are some artists who appear to genetically incapable of making a bad record, whose LPs are bought without so much as a 30-second preview. Laura Cantrell is one of them, a member of an elite club that includes New Order, Nick Cave, the Fall, Ballboy, Belle and Sebastian and Helen Love.

So it’s frustrating that No Way There From Here is Cantrell’s first original material since 2005’s Humming By The Flowered Vine. The wait has been long, but well worth it.

The American is the pre-eminent country music singer and songwriter of her generation. The beauty of her records should convert anyone with a churlish, ill-informed dislike of country. If you don’t like her records it’s not because you don’t like country, you just don’t really like music.

Laura Cantrell :: No Way There From Here

Audio MP3

Fellow Americans Best Coast will be familiar to regular readers and while their rock-tinged pop may not be to everyone’s taste—certainly not many a critic’s—it’s right up my Californian street. If only I had a Californian street.

This is the first single from Fade Away, an LP that will be released later this month.

Best Coast :: I Don’t Know How

After The Golden Spike, their promising 2009 debut, was followed by the disappointing 2010 follow-up, Kaleide, my hopes for Sky Larkin’s new LP weren’t high. But Motto proves that sometimes the good things come to those who wait. This is easily their best LP to date, a record full of many of the good things in life, not least this track. I love a return to form.

Sky Larkin :: Carve it Out

Audio MP3

The French Defence is an opening in chess requiring less swearing than this record from the Leeds outfit that bears its name. It’s also a lot less interesting and entertaining and will never be the subject of a post on a leading music blog.

The French Defence :: Comedy

Is it me, or is Leeds the centre of the musical universe at the moment?

Photo: Moon; some rights reserved

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