Album review: Macy Gray - The Sellout

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010 at 9:21am

Macy Gray - The Sellout

Everyone sort of likes Macy Gray, right? With her inimitable ability to soulfully rasp and squeak concurrently, her playful grin, and impressive afro, what's not to like? Well, her albums apparently. After the worldwide smash that was I Try Macy has struggled to convert her undeniable talent and appeal into consistently successful albums.

It is over ten years since the release of On How Life Is and, now on her fifth studio album, she has struggled to replicate its success. How does The Sellout fair then. Well, a quick scan over the album cover will reveal it is produced by Macy herself, as opposed to super producer and Black Eye Peas frontman who was at the helm of her last outing Big, and also has unlikely guests in the shape of Velvet Revolver.

This perhaps signals that Gray has freed herself of the restraints imposed by worrying about critical and commercial success. One listen to Beauty in the World confirms this resolutely. "So much beauty in the world / Shake your booty boys and girls for the beauty in the world" sings Gray with child like enthusiasm.

Elsewhere, a similar sense of Macy's unrestricted joy in the process of making music is also felt. Let You Win is a laid-back lovers lament, That Man just over 3 minutes of playful doo-wop and The Comeback is Gray in full-blown ballad mode. All of which feel effortless and insouciant, but in the best possible way.

None of the tracks on The Sellout will ever match the success of I Try and Macy Gray now seems comfortable with that. This album is a self-assured artist making music that she savors. It is a perfect lazy summer record and, well, its by Macy Gray - and everyone likes Macy Gray! 7/10

Check out these quality playlists featuring Macy Gray and stacks of other equally great music:

chillin shizz :)
A great laid back playlist featuring Macy, José González, Regina Spektor and, sadly, James Blunt but don't let that put you off.

Sven`s SuperMix
Sven`s SuperMix has an eclectic range of music from Billy Idol and Mark Knopfler to Lionel Richie and Stevie Wonder. . . and Macy Gray of course.

this & that, lite softare stuket
More laid back beats from not only Macy Gray but The Shins, Jackson 5, OutKast and many more.

Gary Evans

New playlist artwork now live

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010 at 12:58pm


As of today we've added some nice little playlist images to all playlists that aren't submitted with their own artwork. Hopefully they will not only brighten the site up a bit but also make it a little more obvious what genre the playlist sits in. Enjoy!

Singles Club

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010 at 10:44am

gaga Lady Gaga - Alejandro
Another track from The Fame Monster and yet another 'contreversial' video from Lady Gaga. After the shockingly bad yet devistatingly succesful nine minute horror show that was Telephone comes the video for Alejandro. This time instead of dodgy B movie style sets and an unintelligible plot Gaga delivers dodgy religious and military style sets and an unintelligible plot. As for the track itself, it is the Lady Gaga we've all become accustomed to with yet more forgetable pop pastiche. Also the way she sings Alejandro becomes completely unbearable very quicklie.

guetta Kelly Rowland ft. David Guetta - Commander
French spinner David Guetta and Destinys Child warbler Kelly Rowland are back with another collaboration, and it's more the same on Commander. Following on from When Love Takes Over this is another slice of house-pop featuring big baslines, breakdowns and vocals. Although far from ground breaking it is likley to a be a huge holiday hit for many clubber this summer.

ss Scissor Sisters - Fire With Fire
Scissor Sisters are back and with the help of super producer Stuart Price (Madonna/Kylie/The Killers) have crafted another trade mark disco-pop hit. The gentle ivory tinkling intro takes under 40 seconds to burst into life with an instantly enslaving chorus. Incredibly camp, glam and catchy. We don't recommend actually fighting fire with fire however, you will only end up with an uncontrolable inferno on your hands.

kelis Kelis - 4th Of July
Kelis has always been one step ahead of the ever-increasing pack of R&B/pop divas. She has consistantly produced innovative, if a little eccentric, music and 4th Of July is no exception. This time she has followed the current commercial trends towards electro-house beats over which to lay her vocal but as always she has done it just that little bit better than everyone else.

nash Kate Nash - Kiss That Grrrrl
Everyones favourite piano bashing mockney returns with another slice of quintessential British pop. The surf guitar intro is instantly captivating before Nash chirps in with her hallmark caustic and direct lyrics - "I bet she doesn't like to eat / I bet her feet don't even stink." Another masterclass in a quirky pop from Kate Nash.

jbj1 Bon Jovi -When We Were Beautiful
Fresh from a residency at the O2 Arena, Bon Jovi release When We Were Beautiful as an accompaniment to the documentary, filmed behind the scenes on the Lost Highway tour 2008, of the same name. It's Bon Jovi by numbers complete with a huge sweeping chorus, 80s guitar solo and lighters in the air sing-a-long moment, "sha-la-la-hey."

Xzibit - Hurt Locker
X 'Pimp My Ride' zibit is back doing his day job - aggressive in your face hip-hop. Fans of X will also like Hurt Locker with its similar driving beat for the former Likwit Crew member to spit his trademark rasping rhymes. Not groundbreaking lyrically "Welcome to my world of hurt, where I put in work / I got guns that knock you off of this earth", but a club banger none the less.

Gary Evans

This week’s album reviews

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010 at 9:08am

kele Kele - The Boxer
After the release of Silent Alarm, Bloc Party were up there with the leaders of the pack of the indie resurgence circa 2005, alongside Kaiser Chiefs, Maximo Park, Editors and the likes. Future releases from the band, however, would see them struggling to find the form of their debut as they struggled with what appeared to be disagreements in musical direction. It should therefore come as no surprise then that Kele has gone it alone with an album that will come as a huge shock to Silent Alarm era Bloc Party fans.

Kele signals his intentions immediately as the first two tracks pass by in a flurry of dubstep and 2-step beats and massive pitch twisting of his trademark lament. Yesturdays Gone, The New Rules and Unholy Thoughts see Okereke in more familiar vocal territory while still underpinned by fidgeting electronic beats.

Current single, and indie-disco banger, Tenderoni perhaps best encapsulates The Boxer, it is still unmistakably Kele Okereke, but not as we know him. 6/10

jimi Experience Hendrix: The Best of Jimi Hendrix
Yet another rehatched and repackaged posthumous Hendrix 'best of' is released this week in the shape of Experience Hendrix: The Best of Jimi Hendrix.

But, with a back catalogue inluding Purple Haze, Hey Joe, All Along The Watchtower, Voodoo Child (Slight Return) and 16 other six string masterclasses, who are we to argue. Release one every week we say, especially one which features the incendiary Star Spangled Banner - Live At Woodstock. 8/10

dsc Detroit Social Club - Existence
Detroit Social Club are a swaggering sextet from Newcastle and Existence is their blues infused, prodigious rock 'n' roll debut release.
Ever since the demise of the brothers Gallagher the British lad-rock crown has been vacant, with Kasabian looking and sounding like the obvious aires to the throne.

DSC however have thrown their hat into the ring with an album that is both full of terrace chant potential, yet still offers plenty in the way of experimentation. First track 'Kiss The Sun' begins in a flurry of pounding drums and feedback before bursting into life with David Burn's howling vocal.

Next track Northern Man shows the unbridled confidence of the band beginning with sweeping strings, normally second or third lad-rock album fodder and usually with very questionable results, for DSC it works well. Elsewhere the band utilize sitars, harmonicas and some of the most excessive feedback this side of Be Here Now, but once again, prosperously.

Black & White, Rivers & Rainbows and Sunshine People in particular showcase perfectly the stomping gusto and self belief so desperately lacking in many of today's new young bands, but with enough ascertainment and skill to make Existence a success and Detroit Social Club an exciting prospect for the future. 8/10

14532259m Robyn - Body Talk Part 1
Body Talk Part 1 is the first of three mini albums from Swedish electro-pop vixen, Robyn. An unusual move for a chart topping popstar but then again, Robyn is so much more than your average pop floozy.

Album opener Don't Fucking Tell Me What To Do sets the precedent for a wonderfully inventive album as she tells us things that are killing her, "My drinking is killing me / My smoking is killing me / My diet's killing me / My heels are killing me" and so on, over a minimal electro beat. This is a musical theme that continues on Fembot and None of Dem.

Dancehall Queen and Cry When You Get Older represent the more commercial mid-section of the album with current single Dancing On My Own the stand out track.

Just when you think you've got the measure of Body Talk Part 1, the album culminates with the delicate acoustic beauty of Hang With Me and, traditional Swedish folk song, Jag Vet en Dejlig Rosa. A genre leading and demiurgic album from Robyn which leaves us intrigued by the prospect of Body Talk Part 2 and 3. 7/10

pabh Pulled Apart By Horses - Pulled Apart By Horses
Pulled Apart By Horses, for those of you that don't already know, are a quartet from Leeds with a reputation for unbridled carnage at their live performances. However, a reputation for barmy live shows doesn't traditionally translate into a good record (Test Isicles, Gallows, erm, Towers of London?).

PABH on the other hand have managed to create an album which is both representative of their live ferocity and succesful as a stand alone LP. If you can overcome the ridiculous song titles, Meat Balloon, I Punched A Lion In The Throat, I've Got A Guest List To Rory O'Hara Suicide, you will discover a hardcore band with some credible and almost popy choruses, screeching guitars and a relentless and blind enthusiasm and confidence. It is this self belief in the music they make that sets them apart from the contrived sound of Hadouken!, Rolo Tomassi and the innumerable other bands hovering in and around this particular genre. 6/10

Gary Evans

Topsify playlists

Monday, June 28th, 2010 at 9:39am

Topsify is a crackin' little website that puts together top 40 charts for various countries and genres on Spotify.

We have gathered several of their brilliant playlists for you to check out now and for free on Spotify by clicking on the links. Enjoy!

Topsify UK TOP 40
First up is the UK chart which has a strong urban and electo contingent at the moment. Pick of the crop are Plan B's crooning She Said, Kylie and Robyn doing battle for the feel good electro-pop gem of the summer with All The Lovers and Dancing On My Own and Dizzee Rascal and James Corden's unofficial England Word Cup song, Shout.

Topsify US HOT 40 Chart (auto-updated)

If you're looking for the top 40 from over the pond then check out this playlist. Currently getting huge amounts of clicks are Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg with California Gurls, Lady Gaga's Alejandro and hip-hop's next big thing, Drake with Find Your Love.

Topsify US ROCK 40 Chart (auto-updated)

If all this cheesy electro-pop and hip-plop is not to your liking then click here for some scuzzy guitars. Filthy blues from The Black Keys, space-rock from Muse and a raucous tune from Cage The Elephant make up a really stong Rock Chart.

Topsify US R&B / Hip-Hop 40 Chart (auto-updated)

If you want to know which hip-hop bangers and R&B grooves are troubling the charts stateside then check this playlist out. Maxwell's Bad Habits, Corinne Bailey Rae's Closer and Ludacris and Nicki Minaj's My Chick Bad in particular are rather good.

You can check out Topsify's SMP profile here and why also not check out their website here.

Gary Evans.

This weeks 'lost classic' albums

Sunday, June 27th, 2010 at 6:51pm

Ok, so 'lost classics' may be a slightly exaggerated title, however, every week SMP is going to offer you a collection of albums that may have sneaked under your radar, been a bit before your time, or perhaps you just down right despised, in which case we implore you to reconsider.

This week we have some of the greatest folk music ever written, a contemporary indie masterpiece, 60s psychedelic and an album from post-punk's who morphed into everything they despised.

As always all the music featured here is available now and for free, on Spotify. What are you waiting for? Get clicking!

Nick Drake - Pink Moon
Although regularly cited as an influence on everyone from Paul Weller to Johnny Borrell (not that you can tell), Nick Drake never achieved commercial or critical acclaim in his lifetime. This was partly due to a crippling shyness which prevented him from playing live or engaging in interviews and partly due to problems with depression and insomnia.

Pink Moon is Drake's third and final album as he died from and overdose of prescribed antidepressants at just 26. The album is a sparse body of work, predominantly featuring only Drake and his guitar, and although not as accessible as, say, Five Leaves Left, it is heartbreaking beautiful. Parasite, Place to Be, and instrumental, Horn reflect poignantly Nick Drake's state of mind at the time of recording perfectly. One of the greatest albums of all time.

The Golden Virgins - Songs Of Praise
Songs Of Praise is quite simply one of the best albums of the last ten years. Initial signs were that The Golden Virgins were destined for big things, a major album deal with XL, XFM's song of the year with Light in Window, but unfortunately it was not to be. Whether this was due to a lack of support and promotion from their label or that they were just a little unlucky, things never panned out for TGV and despite critical acclaim the band split shortly after the release of their debut album.

Light In Her Window, Staying Sober and Never had a prayer highlight what a truly spectacular songwriter Lucas Renney is while I Am A Camera and Renaissance kid are indie-disco classics. If you like this check out Lucas Renney's solo album, Strange Glory.

The 13th Floor Elevators - Easter Everywhere
Drugs problems, prison, psychiatric hospitals, and dirty Psychedelic rock 'n' roll. . . You just don't get this from today's bands. Although there are rumours The Kooks sometimes say up well after midnight.

The 13th Floor Elevators are an often overlooked band but their influence is ever-present, even in today's music - Kasabian's Serge Pizzorno is a huge fan and Primal Scream covered Slip Inside This House on Screamadelica.

Easter Everywhere is their masterpiece. In particular, check the afore mentioned Slip Inside This House, all glorious eight minutes and three seconds of it, Slide Machine, Roky Erickson's vocals are unreal, and the unbelievable, Levitation.

An amazing band that you need in your life.

The Ordinary Boys - Over The Counter Culture
You may know Preston as the funny little fella off-of Celebrity Big Brother, who married the none celebrity women off-of Celebrity Big Brother, done loads of celebrity magazines, and then had a celebrity divorce. But things weren't always like this.

In 2004 The Ordinary Boys were of the most exciting bands in the country, looking set to take over where The Jam left off, producing vitriolic punk-rock, infused with damning social commentary.

Over The Counter Culture is a reviled indictment of celebrity culture, the media, capitalism and pretty much everything wrong with modern society (read: Week In, Week Out, Talk, Talk, Talk, Maybe Someday). It also features a quality cover of an absolute classic, The Special's Little Bitch.

Where did it all go wrong Preston?

Gary Evans

Band members playlists

Friday, June 25th, 2010 at 9:15am

The rock band. Whether five swaggering scallys, four techno geeks on laptops or three post-punk art students, bands have captured the imagination of music fans the world over ever since someone had the novel ideal of connecting electricity to six stings and a plank of wood.

SMP user Frisser has put together some quality playlists taking a look at each instrument and the legendary tracks they feature on.

Greatest Rock Drum Performances
What do you call someone who hangs around with musicians? A drummer. So we all know the sticks and skins man always gets a hard time. But the fact is that without a decent rhythm section the band doesn't stand a chance. Check out Moon the loon on The Who's A Quick One, While He’s Away, Cream's boom boom man, Ginger Baker, on White Room and the amazing Clyde Stubblefield on James Brown's Funky Drummer. What's the difference between a drummer and a drum machine? You only have to punch the information into a drum machine once. No? Fair enough.

Greatest Rock Basslines

The only person in a band that gets less credit than the drummer, the bass player. But not here as this playlist pays tribute to the best rumblers in the business. Check out John Entwistle, Paul Simonon, Mani and many more on this playlist.

Greatest Rock Vocal Performances

Next we take a look at the front man. Featured here is the strutting Mick Jagger on Sympathy For The Devil, the sex appeal of Jim Morrison on The End and the paranoid android himself, Thom Yorke on Street Spirit (Fade Out).

Greatest Keyboard/Piano Performances

The most musical member of any band tends to be the ivory tinkler. Whether you like the self-indulgence of Rick Wakeman, the intergalactic rock of Matt Bellamy on Muse's Piano Thing or the soft-rock of Elton John, you'll find them all and more here.

Greatest Rock Guitar Riffs

Our band is almost complete, apart from the coolest of them all. The axe man. Check out a spectacular collection of monster riffs on this playlist including Johnny B. Goode, Purple Haze, Back In Black, Brown Sugar, Smells Like Teen Spirit, Paradise City and innumerable other air guitar inducing classics.

Rolling Stone TOP 100 Guitar Heroes

A playlist bringing together the greatest guitar slingers ever, as listed in Rolling Stone. Every six string wizard you can imagine is here from Jimi and B.B. King to Lightnin’ Hopkins and Thurston Moore.

Gary Evans

Glastonbury preview

Friday, June 25th, 2010 at 9:14am

Our football team may be busy bumbling their way through the World Cup, and there may be a distinct lack of English participants at Wimbledon but while we may not be the greatest sporting nation, one thing we know how to do is throw a good festival, and they don't come much bigger or better than Glastonbury.

For over four decades Glasto has been at the heart of the British festival season as each year Worthy Farm plays host to a gaggle of hippies, hedonists and rock stars, and this year is no exception.

To get you in the Glastonbury spirit we have put together a collection of playlists showcasing all the best artists appearing over the five days and various stages.

Glastonbury 2010
A brilliant festival overview from richbiker showcasing the diverse talent on offer at the event. Whether you're after the big names, Gorillaz, Muse and Ray Davies or some of the more underground bands The xx, Bombay Bicycle Club and Vampire Weekend this playlist has them all.

Glastonbury ‘10 Pyramid Stage
SMP user lukeyluke has put together a set of playlists showing which artists are playing on what stage, beginning with the famous Pyramid Stage. Willie Nelson, Stevie Wonder, and Ray Davies make up the 'oldies' while Slash, Muse and Seasick Steve represent the guitar slingers. The top five most played tracks on Spotify by each artist feature on this playlist.

Glastonbury ‘10 Acoustic Stage
If you prefer things a little more chilled then the Acoustic stage will be more to your liking. Some amazing six string pickers on display here, in particular check out McIntosh Ross, Imelda May and The Leisure Society.

Glastonbury ‘10 - East Dance

So you want superstar DJ's, big bass lines and hands in the air moments? Then you want the East Dance Village. Plan B has had a huge year so Stay Too Long should provide a great festival moment, Fatboyslim never disappoints on the big stage while Above & Beyond bring a touch of trance to proceedings. Lets 'av it!

Glastonbury 2010 - John Peel Stage

The seminal DJ constantly brought new music to the masses and was a huge fan of Glasto. The John Peel Stage is always a fitting tribute to the Radio 1 legend and this year is no exception. Check out scuzzy blues from The Black Keys, quintessentially English inde from Bombay Bicycle Club and sumptuous pop from Field Music.

Many thanks to richbiker, lukeyluke and klaasjes from the great playlists. As always, click on their names to view there profiles.

Gary Evans

"Best In..." playlists

Thursday, June 24th, 2010 at 11:15am

Following on from our Billboard Number 1 Playlists post, we have another brilliant collection of old school hits from SMP user davinci.

davinci has put together an extensive selection of all the best music from various years, starting in the 60s and leading right up to today so join us as we take a retrospective look at some great music and landmark events from the past 50 years.

Best in 1968
We begin in the swinging sixties with some of the greatest music of all time. Featured here: Purple Haze, [Sittin' On] The Dock Of The Bay, Son Of A Preacher Man and Sweet Thing to name but a few. Need we say anymore. Listen now!

Best in 1969
The big tunes continue into '69 in, what is arguably, the greatest ever era for music. Tunes from Jimi, The Stones, The kinks, Nick Drake, The Faces and many, many more make it difficult to disagree.

Best in 1970
As we enter the 70s The Beatles announce they are splitting up, Jimi Hendrix dies of barbiturate overdose in London and 600,000 people attend The Isle of Wight Festival making the largest rock festival of all time. Meanwhile Van Morrison, The Doors and Curtis Mayfield are busy making future classics. All of which are available here.

Best in 1971
'71 brings another rock 'n' roll tragedy as Jim Morrison is found dead in Paris but the music is still as stong as ever. Check out tracks from The Who, Marvin Gaye and Al Green.

Best in 1974
The best of 1974 includes tunes from one of the coolest guitarists ever, Wilco of Dr Feelgood - She Does It Right, one of the most recognisable riffs of all time, Lynyrd Skynyrd - Sweet Home Alabama, and one of the greatest pop stars of all time, David Bowie - 1984.

best in 1978
As we move forward to 1978 Grease hits the cinemas, Space Invaders hits computers and Happy Days hits our TV screens. In music, everything's gone punk thanks to Ramones, Siouxsie And The Banshees, The Buzzcocks, Magazine and The Undertones. If mohawks and safety pins were never your bag then check out Kraftwerk, Bob Marley & The Wailers and Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band.

Best in 1981
The 80s is often dismissed as a poor time for music (read: Dire Straits, Rush and Phil Collins) but there was also some real class around. Check out The Who, Echo And The Bunnymen and everybodies guilty pleasure, Journey - Don’t Stop Believin’.

Best in 1982
This collection of music from '82 has something for everyone, new-wave from Devo, glam-metal from Motley Crue, punk rock from The Clash and the greatest gym tune of all time, Survivor - Eye Of The Tiger.

Best in 1983
1983 may not be remembered as a classic year for music but there are still many hidden gems here from the likes of New Order with Age Of Consent, Blister In The Sun by Violent Femmes and Talking Heads - Burning Down The House.

Best in 1984
'84 brought us the first MTV Video Music Awards, Band Aid and Michael Jackson shifting over 37 million copies of Thriller. It also gave us The Smiths classic Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now, the evergreen Happy Hour but The Housemartins and Echo And The Bunnymen with their magical track, The Killing Moon.

Best in 1985
Can you remember dancing to Road To Nowhere, Raspberry Beret and Inbetween Days? Well this is the playlist for you. If you can't you may as well have a listen anyway, you might just like it.

Best in 1987
It's 1987 and the hits keep coming. The Cure - Just Like Heaven, U2 - With Or Without You, The Smiths - Girlfriend In A Coma, Guns N’ Roses - Paradise City, R.E.M. - It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine), all feature on this playlist but sadly, no Sally Cinnamon. You can't win'em all i suppose.

Best of 1988

'88's playlist does deliver a Stone Roses tune, and a spectacular one at that, Elephants Stone. Sonic Youth give us 7 minutes of the most joyous post-punk you will ever hear with Teen Age Riot and also ready for you to listen to is The Pixies must famous tune Where Is My Mind? (later to be used on the Fight Club soundtrack), classic Mark E. Smith and The Fall with New Big Prinz and the The Pogues at their best with If I Should Fall From Grace With God.

Best in 1989
As the 80s draw to a close Sky TV is launched in the UK, the Game Boy is launched in Japan and the first episodes of the Simpsons are shown. Meanwhile the tunes are coming thick and fast from Neil Young, The Jesus And Mary Chain, Chris Isaak and Lenny Kravitz.

Best in 1998
As we jump forward to the 90s the tunes are provided by Belle & Sebastian, the epic If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next from the Manics, Placebo's Pure Morning and Hole's biggest hit, Celebrity Skin.

45 Years in music (1966/2010) more than 1900 songs
The title says it all with this playlist. An absolutely mammoth collection of tunes featuring pretty much every human being to ever pick up a musical instrument. An amazing body of music that you can spend literally hours browsing and enjoying.

Many thanks to davinci for all his hard work in putting together this spectacular collection of music. You can check out all of these playlists and mor by clicking here to view davinci's profile and add possibly even add him as a friend, if you are feeling extra nice.

Gary Evans

This week's album reviews

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010 at 9:01am

flynn Johnny Flynn - Been Listening
If Johnny Flynn's debut album A Larum went under your radar then here is a brief introduction. He is a London-based actor turned singer songwriter, he is mates with Laura Marling (she features on The Water), and he writes some of the most beautiful contemporary folk music you will find this side of Nick Drake.

Album opener Kentucky Pill was a recent Hottest Record In The World Today on Zane Lowe's Radio 1 show and rightly so. It is just under four minutes of joyous brass and intricate guitars layered over Flynn's sophisticated wordplay.

It sets the precedent perfectly for an album which flows effortlessly from the more down tempo ballad tracks, Been Listening, The Water, Amazon Love, to the more driving and obstinate, Kentucky Pill, Lost And Found, The Prizefighter And The Heiress while lyrically Flynn manages to strike a fine balance between the enigmatic and unambiguous throughout.

This album is marked progression from his debut, equally well produced but far more accessible. Listen to Been Listening here. 8/10

mountain-man Mountain Man - Made The Harbour
Despite leaving themselves open to investigation from Trading Standards - they are neither men nor from the mountains - Mountain Man are the latest indie-folksters from across to pond to produce an album full of rich vocal harmonies. This three-piece are like a striped-back female Fleet Foxes who have collectively created an LP of real delicate beauty.

The vocal confidence of the band is highlighted by an album which is acapella almost in its entirety with the exception of the occasional, ethereal, acoustic guitar. As a result, the insubstantial tracks can at times be hard to distinguish between but with most coming in at around the two-minute mark, and many even shorter, this is forgivable.

A creative and bold album which is definitely worthy of your time. Listen to Made The Harbour here. 7/10

listen-up Listen Up! The Official 2010 Fifa World Cup Album
After a painfully slow start the World Cup has finally burst into action and although England's performances so far have been anything but exciting, the tournament support has been awash with vibrant colours and noise.

But if the buzz of the vuvuzela is not to your taste then Listen Up! The Official 2010 Fifa World Cup Album is the perfect soundtrack to the greatest sporting event on earth.

The album features a plethora of global talent such as Shakira, R. Kelly, John Legend, Wyclef Jean and Nelson Mandela, naturally. Listen to Listen Up! The Official 2010 Fifa World Cup Album here. 7/10

lisse Lissie - Catching A Tiger
Lissie Maurus' debut album comes with incredible pedigree, produced by Jacquire King (Kings of Leon, Tom Waits) and Bill Reynolds (Band of Horses). However, her brand of country-pop-rock is hugely lacking the purpose and bite of the of the afore-mentioned artists.

Cuckoo is the album highlight but even this feels like a contrived attempt at a summer time hit. Everywhere I Go is the most sincere track before ultimately collapsing into alt-female pop by numbers.

Oh Mississippi is an almost credible album closer showcasing Lissie's, undeniable, vocal talent but is lost in an otherwise unremarkable album. Listen to Catching A Tiger here. 4/10

Gary Evans