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Reviews

Music round-up

Jude Mason

It says 21 on the box, but it's almost impossible to believe that its been that many years since I stood in HMV wondering if it was worth shelling out the money in case I only liked the track I'd heard on Top Of The Pops. But 21 years it is since Blur came into our lives and, with a new album abandoned, it looks like we might have made it to the end. This staggering box set contains every album remastered, and so much bonus material that it is only for the completist.  Its expensiveness (£135 on Amazon) is tribute to a band that went way above anyone's expectations for the gobby foursome.  If the box set isn't for you, each album is available separately and the whole set, bonus tracks and all, is right there on Spotify.   

Hot Chip are some of the most unlikely looking pop stars you'll ever see. Five tubby lads from London, they always looked like your brother's uncool science club mates, but with each album they have moved closer to the centre of the British dance scene. The band continue to revel in their differences from classic rappers and In Our Heads has lyrics that celebrate marriage and family life, set to fun and fabulously alive electro pop.  

In the same ballpark are Django Django. I missed their eponymous release at the beginning of the year, but Django Django (so good they named it twice) has crept into my head and heart and stayed there. Part Super Furry Animals, part Beach Boys, part Beta Band it's a great start from the Scots quartet.

Jerry Douglas is the best dobro player in the world, but that doesn't mean you've heard of him, or know what a dobro is.  A steel-faced guitar played flat - like a 1950s usherette selling cigarettes - it's a staple of bluegrass, and Douglas has made his name with the multi-grammy-winning Alison Krauss & Union Station.  His solo album Traveller is a collection of covers featuring collaborations with other artists, and is worth buying just for the gorgeous version of 'The Boxer', recorded with Mumford & Sons.  Oh, and Paul Simon.

Also released this month, but still under audible lock and key as we went to press, are: Tempest, Bob Dylan's apparently excellent latest; a new release from Mumford & Sons; and (our Editor's favourites) The Cut Ups.  But we'll talk about those in October.

Jude Mason