Album Review – Beth Jeans Houghton & the Hooves Of Destiny


Beth Jeans Houghton & the Hooves of Destiny -‘Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose’ (Mute)

Rather like the recent album from Laura J. Martin, this is a fine debut album from a female singer, who deserves to be tagged with more than just the ‘folk-singer’ tag.

Not that there’s anything wrong with being a folk singer, but in a world full of singer-songwriters, it’s genuinely great to be able to report (or remind you, if you’ve been paying attention before) that here is an act who leaves so many others standing. Yes, it’s folky (in places) but it’s also hymnal, it’s also glam, it’s also sad, it’s also uplifting, and all in the space of thirty-five minutes.

I’m clutching for superlatives here, and wishing that ‘lovely’ and ‘sweet’ didn’t seem so loaded and pejorative. Because this is a genuinely gorgeous album, that’s sung with the voice of a shy angel, that you want to hear again and again (I already have played it several times since it arrived).

What the hell. It’s a mighty fine album from a great new talent. Just go and buy the bloody record and listen to it loads.

Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose is out now on Mute

The sound of 2012


A few weeks ago, disgusted at what much of the BBC Sound of 2012 was promising, I and several other blogs were approached by Andy Von Pip of the Von Pip Musical Express and asked to put forward our own nominations for the alternative sound of 2012.

Now only one of my five nominated acts got through – but democracy has achieved far worse things than that so here they are:


1. Friends

Straight outta Brooklyn, Friends released two singles last year, ‘Friend Crush’ and ‘I’m His Girl.’ Now they may have chosen a name that is going to make Googling them very hard, but I think the two singles so far are great. Check out ‘I’m His Girl’:

Friends – I’m His Girl by LuckyNumberMusic


2. Theme Park hail from London. So far they have released two singles ‘A Mountain We Love’/’Wax’ and ‘Ghosts’/’Milk’.

Ghosts by Theme Park


3. Beth Jeans Houghton was someone I was aware of for much of last year – but when I finally heard her I was very pleasantly stunned by what I heard. Having released a number of singles over the last few years, her debut album Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose (yes, you did read that right) is out on February 6.

Beth Jeans Houghton – Dodecahedron by Mute UK


4. French Wives I have long championed on this blog. They have released four singles so far – of which ‘Numbers’ is the latest and according to their website is the first track to be taken from their album Dream of the In Between. They have been working with producer Tony Doogan, in summer 2011 at Castle of Doom studios in Glasgow, and it is released in March 2012.

Numbers by French Wives


5. Daughter, led by Elena Tonra, released two EPs in 2011. Again, I have to put my hand up and say this was a name I reognised (I just get so much stuff sent to my inbox I have to gamble and it doens’t always pay off), but I’m glad I have listened now.

Remember folks, you can stream these artists above and go and buy their music. And it would be good to know what you think.

The Blog Sound of 2012 was masterminded by Andy Von Pip (as I said above – were you paying attention?), and as well as yours truly, the following blogs were involved:

Breaking More Waves
My Band Is Better Than Your Band
God Is In the TV
Sweeping The Nation
The Recommender
Faded Glamour
Drunken Werewolf
Flying With Anna
Not Many Experts
Under-classed Idle Ideas
Sonic Masala
The Ring Master
Both Bars On
Music From A Green Window
Dots and Dashes
The Daily Growl
And Everyone’s A DJ
Just Music I Like
Cruel Rhythm
The Blue Walrus
Music Fans Mic
Eaten By Monsters
Seven Sevens
Nu Rave Brain Wave
Music Liberation, and last but not least…
Song, By Toad

Presenting…Beth Jeans Houghton


One of the downsides about being sent so much new music is that it is impossible to get through it all, with the net result that you can get really jaded listening to rubbish and not get round to the good stuff. Well, I have finally been able to give Beth Jeans Houghton a listen this evening, and she’s flaming awesome.

She seems to be getting pigeonholed as a folky, but she has the voice of an angel, and she’s signed to Mute, one of the coolest indie labels ever.* Her debut album will be released in early 2012, this year she has released a couple of gorgeous singles that I cannot believe I hadn’t heard until now: ‘Dodecahedron’ and ‘Liliputt’ -the latter recorded with her band The Hooves Of Destiny. If you go back you will also find the ‘Hot Toast Volume 1 EP’ and’Golden’/’Night Swimmer’ single, which we released through Static Caravan.

So smitten by this sound am I that I have bought all I can find of her music online tonight (even ‘Dodecahedron’ which I’d just got a free download of). You can keep your Laura Marlings, this Newcastle-Upon-Tyle lass has the voice of Elizabeth Fraser crossed with Vashti Bunyan.

Beth Jeans Houghton -‘Dodecahedron.’ mp3

*no, they are no longer owned by EMI, do keep up.