Alan Parker & Alan Hawkshaw - "Evening Shade" (2:34)
Review: If you're looking for someone to chronicle the seamier side of British musical history, or a curatorial force with insights into its more dusty and unchartered areas, no-one is better qualified than Saint Etienne boffins Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs, and they've excelled themselves here, delivering a beautifully chosen and endlessly evocative selection of songs from an era often overlooked by the reductive forces of retro culture - a disenfranchised but rich zone in the early seventies after psychedelia, when although the '60s dream had faded slightly the atmosphere of melancholy and hope alike made for unclassifiable and evergreen music. Not quite prog, not quite psych, the likes of T2, Aardvark, Matching Mole and Van Der Graaf Generator were harbingers of a lost spirit that makes for endlessly rewarding listening here, sitting proudly alongside better known figures like Daevid Allen and John Cale on a strange time capsule to be cherished.
Review: English actor, writer, and musician Matt Berry - of Darkplace and IT Crowd fame - covers, yes, covers an assortment of classic British TV themes. The result is an album to be appreciated as much as it is to be taken seriously, as it is to be enjoyed. Of course there's a pinch of humour with Berry placing himself alongside a muppet and Doctor Who on the album's cover art, but it's the theatrical, jazz and upbeat, yet easy listening approach of the album which really paints the picture. The LP's opener "Are You Being Served" is undeniable sweetest spot of nostalgia here, with the minutia of Thames Television indents, at 8 seconds long, also checked and covered. Recorded solo by Berry himself, it's a burgundy-beige trip through the technicolour memory of one's formative years enjoying the early-evenings and afternoons watching a select choice of the UKs most iconic TV.