Michael Awosoga-Samuel

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Michael Awosoga-Samuel likes to acquire books, movies and music. He collects more than he reads - likes to know they are sitting on the shelf. He likes to watch TV shows uninterrupted so buys DVDs. He reads magazine articles from New York Review of Books and Vanity Fair and from music magazines like Uncut, Q Magazine and Mojo.

Reviews

The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson

Reviewed by Michael Awosoga-Samuel

Jonas Jonasson’s first book, The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, was published to critical and commercial success in 2009, and his new book adopts a similarly quirky bent…

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Disconnected In New York City by Los Lobos

Reviewed by Michael Awosoga-Samuel

Los Lobos celebrate 40 years together with this live album, Disconnected, recorded at the City Winery in New York City in December 2012. I am only just beginning to appreciate this band; they last ap…

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Reflektor by Arcade Fire

Reviewed by Michael Awosoga-Samuel

At the time of their first album release, Funeral, there was a huge critical hype around Arcade Fire being the next ‘big thing’. Though at that time, in the mid-noughties, there were so many next ‘bi…

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Machines of Love and Grace by Martha Tilston

Reviewed by Michael Awosoga-Samuel

British folk singer Martha Tilston first came to my attention with the release of 2007’s Of Milkmaids & Architects, about the same time that I began listening to The Unthanks, another band who brilli…

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Om Suite Ohm by Harry Manx

Reviewed by Michael Awosoga-Samuel

Slide guitarist and musical innovator Harry Manx is something of a globetrotting musical explorer. Stints in Japan and India, where he learnt the 20-string Mohan Veena under the tutelage of Vishwa Mo…

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Way To Blue: An Introduction To Nick Drake

Reviewed by Michael Awosoga-Samuel

Nick Drake passed away at just 26 and remained largely unknown throughout his lifetime. Yet his beautiful, acoustic sound has since found a growing audience.

This album comes off the back of immense…

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Lonesome Dreams by Lord Huron

Reviewed by Michael Awosoga-Samuel

Musician and artist Ben Schneider first conceived of Lord Huron as a solo project after his move to LA (the name is taken from Lake Huron in Michigan, where Ben spent time as a child). The band was f…

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A Concert for Kirsty MacColl by Various Artists

Reviewed by Michael Awosoga-Samuel

Kirsty MacColl’s voice graced much of my 80s and 90s, especially her definitive versions of Ray Davies’ ‘Days’ and Billy Bragg’s ‘A New England’. More than 10 years after her death, she is remembered…

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What The Brothers Sang by Dawn McCarthy & Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy

Reviewed by Michael Awosoga-Samuel

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy (Will Oldham) teams up with labelmate Dawn McCarthy of Faun Fables to pay loving tribute to the music of the Everly Brothers. This homage gives a more current sound to the Everl…

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Electric by Richard Thompson

Reviewed by Michael Awosoga-Samuel

Richard Thompson, the great British guitarist who made his debut in the late 60s with seminal British folk group Fairport Convention, has released his umpteenth solo album under the watchful guidance…

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Songs from the Shipyards: Diversions Vol. 3 by The Unthanks

Reviewed by Michael Awosoga-Samuel

British folk band The Unthanks are on to the third record in their Diversions series. I’ve been really enjoying what they’ve been producing so far with these collaborations – first with the songs of …

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Songs from the Shipyards: Diversions Vol. 3 by The Unthanks

Reviewed by Michael Awosoga-Samuel

British folk band The Unthanks are on to the third record in their Diversions series. I’ve been really enjoying what they’ve been producing so far with these collaborations – first with the songs of …

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Little Known Facts by Christine Sneed

Reviewed by Michael Awosoga-Samuel

Christine Sneed is an American short-story writer whose work has appeared in many prominent journals and whose first collection, Portraits of a Few of the People I’ve Made Cry, won rave reviews a few…

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Tinsel and Lights by Tracey Thorn

Reviewed by Michael Awosoga-Samuel

Tinsel and Lights is Tracy Thorn’s second solo release since her former band, Everything but the Girl, went on hiatus a few years ago. Thorn’s vocals have graced some of the most memorable recordings…

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Sea of Lights by Suzannah Espie

Reviewed by Michael Awosoga-Samuel

Suzannah Espie has been a well-respected fixture on the Melbourne music scene for years. Sea of Lights, her latest release, was recorded over three 40-degree days in the shed of fellow muso Jeff Lang…

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Diversions: Volume 2 by The Unthanks with Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band

Reviewed by Michael Awosoga-Samuel

The Unthanks recorded this second instalment of the Diversions series with the Brighouse & Rastrick Band, a collaboration that reminds me of the way Alain Toussaint’s distinctive brass arrangements p…

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I Awake by Sarah Blasko

Reviewed by Michael Awosoga-Samuel

Sarah Blasko’s new record ups the ante on her last album, As Day Follows Night. Here, Blasko has taken on the reins as producer, enlisting the musical assistance of the Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra.

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Adventures Of A Compulsive Traveller by Dominic Dunne

Reviewed by Michael Awosoga-Samuel

I must admit to not having read a great deal of travel writing, having been restricted to the odd P.J. O’Rourke and Bill Bryson. However, I think Adventures of a Compulsive Traveller by Dominic Dunne…

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The Haunted Man by Bat for Lashes

Reviewed by Michael Awosoga-Samuel

Bat for Lashes is Natasha Khan, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and visual artist. The Haunted Man is her third release and the album sees her stripping away the theatrical influences of her…

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Charmer by Aimee Mann

Reviewed by Michael Awosoga-Samuel

Former Till Tuesday member Aimee Mann has carved out a niche for herself as a modern singer-songwriter, and her voice and tone are immediately recognisable for conveying both a sense of knowing and c…

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I Bet On Sky by Dinosaur Jr

Reviewed by Michael Awosoga-Samuel

J Mascis and original band members Lou Barlow and Murph are onto their third release since reforming in 2005.

Dinosaur Jr. were the original quiet/noise band, forerunners of the Pixies and Nirvana, …

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San Miguel by T.C. Boyle

Reviewed by Michael Awosoga-Samuel

American writer T.C. Boyle (World’s End, The Road to Wellville and Drop City) has chosen to set his latest novel, San Miguel, on the westernmost of California’s Channel Islands, a place surrounded by…

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The Elephant Keepers’ Children by Peter Høeg

Reviewed by Michael Awosoga-Samuel

Danish author Peter Høeg rose to prominence with the release of his 1992 novel, Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow, and has enjoyed an eclectic array of professions over the years – as a dancer, actor, s…

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Love This Giant by David Byrne & St Vincent

Reviewed by Michael Awosoga-Samuel

David Byrne, former frontman of Talking Heads, is no stranger to collaboration, from his early efforts with Brian Eno right through to his recent live album with Caetano Veloso. On Byrne’s latest rel…

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Algiers by Calexico

Reviewed by Michael Awosoga-Samuel

Joey Burns and John Convertino of Tucson Arizona’s alt-country band Calexico have played music together for over 20 years. Algiers is their first release in four years, as well as their first for The…

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Mid Air by Paul Buchanan

Reviewed by Michael Awosoga-Samuel

Paul Buchanan, the lead singer for The Blue Nile, has finally released his first solo album, Mid Air, eight years after the last Blue Nile record.

Buchanan’s voice is graced with the hushed tonality…

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Cut The World (Live) by Antony & The Johnsons

Reviewed by Michael Awosoga-Samuel

Antony Hegarty is always striving for purity of vision and Cut the World is his closest manifestation of it. Recorded live in Copenhagen in September 2011 with the Danish National Chamber Orchestra, …

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The Girl on the Stairs by Louise Welsh

Reviewed by Michael Awosoga-Samuel

While Scottish writer Louise Welsh has come across my radar from time to time, I’d never had a chance to read her until now, and was immediately struck by this tense, personal thriller.

As with her…

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Idea of Happiness by Van She

Reviewed by Michael Awosoga-Samuel

Sydney synth pop exponents Van She return with their much anticipated second long player.

Idea of Happiness was produced and engineered by the band in Sydney’s Kings Cross. The lead single and title…

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The Truth by Michael Palin

Reviewed by Michael Awosoga-Samuel

Michael Palin has long been a respected comic, TV personality, and diarist. Having presented many travel programs and in so doing becoming attracted to India, in 2010 he was moved to send a message o…

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News

An Album That Changed My Life: Swordfishtrombones by Tom Waits

by Michael Awosoga-Samuel

I was 15 and growing up in London at a time in the early 80s when your attire was a direct indication of the music you were listening to. I had already gone through a ‘Rude Boy’ and a ‘Mod’ phase, then a ‘Futurist’ phase in quick succession. (I was able to do this because my older brother had a pretty broad taste in music.) It was a time when you could wear make up to school and no one would star…

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