Stuart Benjamin


Born and resident in South Wales until the late 1990s I grew up listening to a combination of Male Voice Choirs and Death Metal. If I’m honest, both are with me still. I later moved to Wiltshire, where I am now resident in the same town as Andy Partridge of XTC. I’ve never met Andy. He’s never met me. I’m not sure what we’d do if we did meet. I’ve always listened to music that’s off-the-beaten-track. I’ve just got to listen to something new, something different. It’s a compulsion. I just can’t stand blandness in music. I must have excitement, experimentation in what I listen to. This is why I am here. Outside of all this prog-rock/psychedelia/free-jazz/punk/experimental stuff I also listen to classical music and opera, and I sing choral pieces both sacred and secular. Not because I’m any good at it, but because it’s hard to sing and the challenge is everything. My favourite band are Cardiacs, my guilty pleasure is Stevie Wonder. Go figure.

Articles by Stuart Benjamin

Kurushimi – Shōtotsu

All the tracks revel in their ability to deliver shock-and-awe music like nothing else. It’s music which simply cannot be pigeon-holed. Brilliant. – By Stuart Benjamin

Wartime Sweethearts – So Long Sparta

This is pop as it should be (but rarely is), multi-layered music and obscure lyrics that draw from modern life or classical history/literature and driven heavily by piano/keyboards and lively percussion. – By Stuart Benjamin

LITE / Mouse on the Keys – Split EP

Before you can say “Crikey Granny, you’ve really got to check out these two Japanalicious bands!”, the whole thing is over. More please – ‘cos it’s terrific. By Stuart Benjamin

Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds – Skeleton Tree

There can be no doubt that this record, and the accompanying film, One More Time With Feeling, were very difficult things to make and yet it seems totally necessary that they exist. He could, very easily – and I wouldn’t have blamed him for a second – have decided not to do anything at all. But that might have been true paralysis of feeling perhaps, and counter to the great creative spark that burns so brightly in this artist who writes so engagingly about all of human experience. By Stuart Benjamin

Tjaere + Fjer – Voliere

Grown up electronic music for a thinking audience, at times drawing on influences such as Another Green World period Eno, or late Virgin period Tangerine Dream, and Madsen is a clever enough guy to tip his hat to his predecessors without being overpowered by them. By Stuart Benjamin

my-Ra Superstar – You Boys and Your Magick Juju

You Boys and Your Magick Juju is something of a positive evolution for my-Ra Superstar, and I think it’s only a matter of time before they give us something totally damn hot. Ones to watch. Although, to be fair, the Illuminati already are… By Stuart Benjamin

Michael Snoxall – “Spooks.”

It’s hard to write a critique of what is – in a lot of ways – a deeply personal record. I listened to it all summer as an antidote to some of the more epic, bombastic, music that usually soundtracks the season and I don’t regret one second of what I heard. – By Stuart Benjamin

The Dowling Poole – One Hyde Park

In summary, 2016 has been a really shitty year for all kinds of reasons, ‘One Hyde Park’ gives you twelve perfectly presented pop packages that will make you feel better. – By Stuart Benjamin

Death Club 7 – Immortal Peaches EP

Death Club 7 certainly have an ear for pop – and regular readers of my reviews know I have an enduring love of pop, and an enduring disappointment of the homogenous mince grinder that modern pop has become. King certainly deserves a wider audience. It may be hard work trying to build it. But in a world of anodyne popsters, Death Club 7 bring dark relief. By Stuart Benjamin

King Goat – Conduit

There’s an intangible something that makes these songs, and this album, a cut above any other doom records you might have listened to lately. – By Stuart Benjamin

Fat Guy Wears Mystic Wolf Shirt – Accord/Dance

FGWMWS is the place to go if you like Napalm Death, The Locust, or indeed Melt Banana – with the experimental nous of a Mike Patton side-project thrown in for good measure. Exemplary. Astounding. It’s beyond brilliant – I can’t wait for a full album. – By Stuart Benjamin

Dvanov – The Edge of the Field

Russia might not spring to mind when you think of alternative rock, but clearly if there are other bands as accomplished and mature as Dvanov, it’ll be a seam well worth mining. By Stuart Benjamin

Live Review: Transplant Music Night – Arts Centre, Salisbury

Stuart Benjamin went to the Transplant Music Night at the Salisbury Arts Centre. “As the music of the past spoke to the music of the present it was clear to see that Tim Smith’s legacy – beyond even Cardiacs – was the his inspiration for so many artists to draw from that past and make it soulful, fresh, and engaging for the future.”

Deerhoof – The Magic

‘The Magic’ is classic Deerhoof – experimental, bold, audacious, weird. It is the super-friendly hit record of the summer. – By Stuart Benjamin

The Claypool Lennon Delirium – The Monolith of Phobos

In many ways, it’s a sad record, but in others it’s just so glorious and for that reason alone it should be taking up space on your record shelves. By Stuart Benjamin

30,000 Monkies – I Ate Myself to Grow Twice as Big

There are some great contrasts on this record, from heavy duty drone to almost psychedelic dream like twists that, perversely, are almost soothing on a record this heavy. A terrific debut. – By Stuart Benjamin

Obsidian Kingdom – A Year With No Summer

If you like your post-rock (whatever that is) with a bit of a prog rock twist (whatever that is) then you should find every itch scratched by spending time in the company of these seven gloriously paranoid tracks. – By Stuart Benjamin

Karl Bartos – Communication

So, not one for the curious, rather one for the completists and old fans such as me, but I won’t listen to it half as much as I listen to Autobahn. By Stuart Benjamin

Guerilla Toss – Eraser Stargazer

Like a bunch of kids knocking back Lucozade each song explodes with barely suppressed relentlessness. The longest track here – ‘Grass Shack’ – almost recalls very early Cardiacs with its change of pace and barely discernible, surreal lyrics, which is high praise indeed. By Stuart Benjamin

Kurushimi – Kurushimi

Riffs and saxes – but what riffs and saxes they are – on an album that should be as essential to you as air and water. – By Stuart Benjamin

Lost Salt Blood Purges – Only the Youngest Grave

I think in anyone’s eyes this album is a triumph, setting the agenda of what music can be and the emotions it can stimulate. Do yourself a favour switch off your mobile, take the phone off the hook and give yourself over to it. I truly hope it gets the recognition it so clearly deserves. Magnificent. – By Stuart Benjamin

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