Review: The Mountain Goats – Dark in Here

Californian John Darnielle first used the moniker The Mountain Goats when, circa 1991, he purchased a Panasonic boom box and started recording his songs. His first couple of albums were released on the tape only Shrimper label and he quickly became ensconced in the American Lo-fi home recording scene. It was a genre that valued creativity over commercial viability, song-writing chops over musicianship, and an almost fetishist enthusiasm for tape hiss.

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Review: Adventures with the Painted People

David Greig’s Pictish play was originally commissioned by Pitlochry Festival Theatre with the intention of it being part of their 2020 season. When the pandemic hit it was reimagined as an audio play by it’s author and PFT’s creative director Elizabeth Newman and broadcast to not inconsiderable acclaim on BBC Radio 3.

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Review: Matt Sweeney & Bonnie “Prince” Billy – Superwolves

Superwolves, occasional collaborators Matt Sweeney and Will Oldham’s first album together since 2005’s Superwolf, begins with the warmly foreboding Make Worry For Me. It’s one of those rare tracks that has me skipping straight to the beginning as before the final chord has even finished ringing out. A simple arpeggiated guitar part and sinister narrator (“You can be whatever you want to be but you won’t be bad as me”) bring to mind Every Breath You Take. The real sweetener, though, is Sweeney’s ominous lead playing, weaving between the vocals before spilling into a slippery psychedelic solo.

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Review: Tennis Elbow

With the premiere of his play Tennis Elbow, a sequel to 1977’s Writer’s Cramp, John Byrne takes us for a walk on the distaff side. Whereas the original play was told from the perspective of the lamentable Francis McDade, a writer, who by all accounts wallowed in mediocrity, Tennis Elbow takes the point of view of his erstwhile wife the esteemed author Pamela Crichton Capers.

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