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James Poole recommendations

The return of Matt Deighton and Michael Head

2013 is littered with unfinished business. There’s much for me to write about that I have just not had the time to share. Like seeing the Pixies tear through an awesome set at Music Hall of Williamsburg (with a highlight as staggering as it was surprising: ‘Bagboy’). Or Janelle Monae lighting up the Apollo as […]

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James Poole recommendations

2013: Top ten albums

In any other year, the 2013 releases from Laura Mvula, Disclosure or Unknown Mortal Orchestra may have made the cut for the ‘best ten’. But, 2013 was about as solid a year for music as you can hope for. Even a rejuvenated and frankly otherworldly David Bowie didn’t make the list this year. And, I […]

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James Poole recommendations

Better than Mick

I often think that the UK’s Smooth FM should run with the advertising slogan: ‘where you’re never more than 30 minutes away from Simply Red’. It’s truly the place where music comes to die. I consider it to be the opposite of freethinking. So, let’s just talk about Simply Red for a minute. I recently […]

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James Poole recommendations reflection

That’ll be Daughter. They’re not like Macklemore.

One of the more surprising bits of feedback I’ve received regarding the freethinking movement came from a colleague of mine a couple of years ago. She attended one of the early freethinking nyc nights, and ended up becoming a regular ‘freethinker’. She came straight out with the feedback: ‘I now know the real James’. The […]

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James Poole recommendations

A slice of 90s orchestral pop

How did this pass me by? It’s 2013, and here I am, about to write about a tune which was released in 1995. But, thanks to you lot, I never even knew about this until last year. Thanks a bunch. As I sat down in January to compile my list of top albums for 2012, […]

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defining freethinking James Poole recommendations

Of Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix and Gil Evans

Ron Carter is high up there. His contribution to the world of music is indisputable. Some of Herbie Hancock’s finest recordings – including Maiden Voyage and Empyryan Isles – were graced by the genius of his bass work. He was there when it mattered, alongside Miles, as a new age in jazz was dawning. I […]

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James Poole recommendations

2012: Top ten albums

Let’s get this out of the way: the best music from 2012 came not from new blood, but from established artists. Fine, there are some exceptions, but as a general rule, last year some comparatively old dogs absolutely nailed it. *braces self for onslaught of not-so-constructive feedback* As ever, picking ten albums is really tough. […]

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James Poole recommendations

Janice Graham Band: All hail the new Specials.

I’m a long-time aficionado of Acid Jazz Records. Birthplace of Galliano and Jamiroquai, home to The Brand New Heavies during their career-peak, and the arbiters of taste behind the Totally Wired series – Acid Jazz was more than a label during the early 90s. It was a movement. I was a fully signed-up fan. During […]

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James Poole recommendations

Expensive Northern Soul

Feeling down? Here’s a musical cure. I’m not sure if I buy the story about this being The Most Expensive ‘45 Of All Time – but I do buy that it’s a slab of bang-on northern soul. And, if your day is tinged with even a hint of something not going in your favour, slap […]

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James Poole recommendations reflection

Of magazines, Factory, and Cath Carroll…

I read an article last week that put forth – in surprised tones – that the main source for an introduction to ‘new music’ was the radio. I’ll be honest, this is no surprise to me at all. Whack on BBC 6 Music on any day of the week, at any time of the day, […]

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James Poole recommendations

Lee Fields = JB. The Expressions = The JBs.

I’m just going to put this out there: it’s going to take a lot – a lot – for an album to top ‘Faithful Man’ as the best of 2012. Lee Fields and The Expressions follow up to 2009’s ‘My World’ is an absolute stunner. As a slab of soul, it’s just immediate. Album opener […]

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James Poole recommendations

Creativity, with a pinch of ‘Wellerness’

I figured that ‘Starlight’ was an early indication of what was to come. It sounded like it was a track lifted straight off ‘Modernism: A New Decade’, the notorious final Style Council LP. I say this not by way of criticism – I love it when Weller shakes off the shackles that his fans place […]