ALBUM OF THE WEEK: Boy From Michigan by John Grant (week beginning 16 July 2021)

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

TRACKLIST: Boy From Michigan; County Fair; The Rusty Bull; The Cruise Room; Mike And Julie; Best In Me; Rhetorical Figure; Just So You Know; Dandy Star; Your Portfolio; The Only Baby; Billy

We’re reminded of the close of 2 of our favourite albums of the 90s – Pulp‘s His’n’Hers and REM’s Automatic For The People – by the tenderness and tunefulness of final track here, Billy.

  • Read on for reasons including how to see Grant on tour in London and across the UK soon
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ALBUM OF THE MONTH: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella (Original Album Cast Recording) starring Carrie Hope Fletcher (July 2021)

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

TRACKLIST: Buns ‘N’ Roses; It Has To Be Her; Bad Cinderella; So Long; Unfair; Unbreakable; Hunks’ Song; Man’s Man; So Long (Reprise); Only you, Lonely You; The Queen’s Boudoir; I Know You; I Know You (Reprise); The Village Square; Unfair (Reprise); The Godmother’s Shop; Beauty Has A Price; Fanfare; The Cinderella Waltz; The Ball; I Know I Have A Heart; Act 2 Scene 2; I Am No Longer Me; Moment Of Triumph; What Were You Thinking?; Far Too Late; Ego Has A Price (Reprise); The Wedding Fanfare; The Wedding March; The Ceremony; The Vanquishing; Man’s Man (Reprise); Cinderella’s Solilioquy; The Wedding Party; Finale; Marry For Love; Only You, Lonely You

With former Killing Eve showrunner Emerald Fennell at the helm in the year she won an Oscar for Promising Young Woman this Cinderella was always likely to be a radical reinterpretation of the beloved fairy tale – and so it proves.

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ALBUM OF THE MONTH/GIG REVIEW: Ancient Dreams In A Modern Land by MARINA (June 2021)

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

RELEASED: 11 June 2021

TRACKLIST: Ancient Dreams In A Modern Land; Venus Fly Trap; Man’s World; Purge The Poison; Highly Emotional People; New America; Pandora’s Box; I Love You But I Love Me More; Flowers; Goodbye

GIG SETLIST (13 June 2021) Ancient Dreams In A Modern Land; Venus Fly Trap; Purge The Poison; Froot; Man’s World; Highly Emotional People; Blue; New America; I Am Not A Robot; Pandora’s Box; To Be Human; How To Be A Heartbreaker; Bubblegum Bitch; I Love You But I Love Me More; Goodbye

If Kate Bush had given birth to a daughter rather than a son in 1998 and she had gone on to make records, one suspects they would have sounded like this 5th collection from Welsh singer/songwriter/musician/producer Marina Lambrini Diamandis.

  • Read on for reasons including what went down at the album launch show available online on Sunday 13 June
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ALBUM OF THE MONTH: Discovery (Live In Rio 1994) by Pet Shop Boys (May 2021)

WORTH A LOOK?: *****

RELEASED: Friday 30 April 2021

TRACKLIST: Tonight Is Forever; I Wouldn’t Normally Do This Kind Of Thing; Always On My Mind; Domino Dancing; To Speak Is A Sin; One In A Million/Mr Vain; Paninaro; Rent; Suburbia; King’s Cross; So Hard; Left To My Own Devices/Rhythm Of The Night; Absolutely Fabulous; Liberation; West End Girls; Can You Forgive Her?; Girls And Boys; It’s A Sin/I Will Survive; Go West; Being Boring

This tour of Australia and South America was Pet Shop Boys’ 1st not to arrive in the UK which is a shame because despite being less of a spectacle than their previous 2 productions it’s far more fun.

  • Read on for reasons including what Pet Shop Boys are working on next
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ALBUM OF THE MONTH: Poster Girl by Zara Larsson (March 2021)

WORTH A LOOK?: ***1/2

OUT: 5 March 2021

TRACKLIST: Love Me Land; Talk About Love feat Young Thug; Need Someone; Right Here; WOW; Poster Girl; I Need Love; Look What You’ve Done; Ruin My Life; Stick With You; FFF; What Happens Here

We last saw Larsson live headlining at London’s Eventim Apollo in October 2017 and it is with a little surprise then that it has taken more than three-and-half years since to release this next album proper.

  • Read on for reasons including to see live performances of 2 of the album’s best tracks
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ALBUM OF THE MONTH: Choices by Lucy Spraggan (February 2021)

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

OUT: 26/2/21

TRACKLIST: Flowers; Roots; Sober; Run To The Hills; Heartbreak Suites; If I Had A God; I Spent A Night In The Desert; You’ve Let Yourself Down; Animal; Wild; Run; Choices (Don’t Be Afraid); Why Don’t We Start From Here?

If you’re familiar with singer/songwriter Spraggan it may well be thanks to her song Tea And Toast which was a top 20 hit before she’d even appeared on TV’s The X Factor live finals in 2012.

  • Read on for reasons including a link to details of live shows Spraggan is playing this year
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ALBUM OF THE MONTH: Strangers/Lovers by Dagny (January 2021)

WORTH A LOOK?: ****1/2

OUT: now

TRACKLIST: Come Over; Somebody; Paris; Let Me Cry; Coulda Woulda Shoulda; Tension; Moment; Please Look At Me; Bad At Love (Interlude); It’s Only A Heartbreak; Bye Bye Baby; Coast To Coast;

Norwegian Dagny came to our attention in 2020 when Katy Perry interpolated her song Love You Like That into her own comeback single Never Really Over.

  • Read on for reasons including how Strangers/Lovers reminds of Prince, Robyn and Sigrid
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ALBUM OF THE MONTH: What The Future Holds by Steps (December 2020)

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

OUT: 27/11/20

TRACKLIST: What The Future Holds; Something In My Eyes: Clouds; To The Beat Of My Heart; Father’s Eyes; One Touch; Under My Skin; Heartbreak In This City; Come And Dance With Me; Don’t You Leave Us Halfway; To The One; Hold My Heart; What The Future Holds

If 2017’s comeback album Tears On The Dancefloor was an attempt to give the band’s loyal fans what they wanted (all bangers no fillers), 2020’s consolidation seems very much about broadening their appeal with more mature mid-paced material.

  • Read on for reasons including our latest Steps for Eurovision thoughts and how to buy tickets for their 2021 tour
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ALBUM OF THE WEEK: Apart Together by Tim Minchin (week beginning 23/11/20)

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

OUT: now

TRACKLIST: Summer Romance; Apart Together; Airport Piano; The Absence Of You; I Can’t Save You; Talked Too Much, Stayed Too Long; Leaving LA; I’ll Take Lonely Tonight; Beautiful Head; If This Plane Goes Down; Carry You

The self-described ‘comedic minstrel’ born in Northampton to Australian parents is best known to us for writing the Olivier Award-winning musical Groundhog Day, which also won our Best Musical monsta.

  • Read on for reasons including what Minchin is working on next
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ALBUM OF THE WEEK: Infinite Things by Paloma Faith (week beginning 15/11/20)

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

RELEASED: 13/11/20

TRACKLIST: Supernatural; Monster; Gold; Falling Down; Infinite Things; If This Is Goodbye: Better Than This; Me Time; If Loving You Was Easy; Beautiful & Damned; I’d Die For You; Living With A Stranger; Last Night On Earth

We first saw Paloma Faith live by chance when we were waiting for another main stage act at Lovebox in east London a decade ago and it was her personality and way with her hometown crowd that initially drew us in.

  • Read on for reasons including how Sigrid and MNEK are co-writers here
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