Saturday, December 30, 2006

Need party music for tomorrow night?

Two things I must share with you if you are compiling a CD-R (or whatever) for a party tomorrow night and you want something that not everyone has heard.

I'm not quite sure how it happened - probably another Blogger- but i found myself listening to Norweigian trio Datarock for the first time today. I knew they had made the NME's Top fifty albums of the year list but these tracks really made me pick up my ears:

Meanwhile, nosing around, I looked at Headphone Sex and became immediately smitten by the two tracks posted here posted on Mika. So much so I went out and bought the 12" of Relax Take It Easy. Do yourself a favour and buy this. My friend Jared thinks it sounds like 'I Just Died In Your Arms' by Cutting Crew. He's right -in a good way.

Buy Mika's Take It Easy on Amazon

It was twenty years ago today...

..that I bought my first ever 7" single 'Caravan of Love' by the Housemartins. Aged 10, I walked into WHSmith and started what has been twenty-year love affair with these little bits of vinyl. I've just given it the first spin in a few years but there's something about it that provides me with a warm glow after all these years. It's still pleasing that sales of vinyl singles have grown over the last few years, after all over a decade in the doldrums. Whilst it is probably too much to hope that they will be re-introduced in Woolworths, HMV in London and Edinburgh stock 'em in racks again (instead of shoe boxes).
As for the Housemartins...well, this line-up included Paul Heaton the singer (who would go on to form The Beautiful South), Stan Cullimore the guitarist (who would write books for children), bass player Norman Cook (better known as Fatboy Slim, amongst many, many names) and drummer Hugh Whitaker would play in The Sevants with future Auteurs/Black Box Recorder man, Luke Haines. This was their only No.1 hit, and it gives a glow like a cup of Hot Chocolate. Mmm...
This band are warmly remembered - and they should not be forgotten.
Start with their 'best-of' Now That's What I Call Quite Good, which also has some of the most amusing sleeve-notes I have ever read.
Watch the video here on YouTube

Friday, December 29, 2006

New LPs for 2007

One of my new year's resolutions every single year is to try and buy less music. Hmm. Of course, this usually works OK in January when I'm skint but after a while starts to fall by the wayside very quickly. If you're passionate about music, then you find the money!

It's going to be harder already, because this is what 2007 is promising us already: (NB Any release dates are UK)

!!! (Chk Chk Chk) 'Myth Takes' According to their website, this is out on March 4 (I make that a Sunday). Find out more here

The Shins 'Wincing the Night Away' Out on January 29. Find out more here

Bloc Party 'A Weekend In the City' Out February 5. US-based folks might want to read this

Kasier Chiefs Second as yet untitled album due out February 26.

The Good, the Bad and The Queen Debut album out January 22. Find out more here

The View 'Hats Off To The Buskers' debut album due out January 22.

The Noisettes 'What's the Time Mr. Wolf' debut out February 5, according to NME, but no mention of this on their website...

The Klaxons 'Myths Of The Near Future' debut LP out January 29.

Meanwhile, the Cooper Temple Clause are meant to have an album out sometime next year, and I hope Jamie T will, but still waiting...

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Top 10 LPs of 2006

OK, given that I was asked ages ago for mine by Sweeping The Nation, here we go:

1. Camera Obscura 'Let's Get Out Of This Country'
2. Amy Winehouse 'Back To Black'
3. My Latest Novel 'Wolves'
4. Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan 'Ballad Of The Broken Seas'
5. Cat Power 'The Greatest'
6. Morrissey 'Ringleader of the Tormentors'
7. The Pipettes 'We Are The Pipettes'
8. Hot Chip 'The Warning'
9. The Fratellis 'Costello Music'
10. Belle & Sebastian 'The Life Pursuit'

Perhaps the biggest surprise is Amy Winehouse, who I had obviously heard of, but who had barely registered on my radar at all until the last few months. Guess it shows just how wrong you can be. A lot of good music from Scotland (Camera Obscura, My Latest Novel, Isobel Campbell, the Fratellis and Belle and Sebastian).

Honourable mentions would go to Aberfeldy (Whatever Turns You On), and Scritti Politti (White Bread, Black Beer). Disappointment of the year would probably be 'At War With The Mystics by The Flaming Lips. They still kick ass live, but just didn't connect with me on that record. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs album dipped a bit in the middle too...

Let the yelling commence...

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Happy Boxing Day...

James Brown 1933-2006
Hello all,

well, hope everyone had a good Christmas (or whatever you choose to celebrate). I certainly did; amongst my presents were The Complete John Peel Sessions 1978-2004 by The Fall from my girlfriend (I shall be digesting it today; after hearing their take on 'Hark The Herald Angels Sing' from the 1994 Peel session, she asked me ever so nicely and politely, if firmly, if I could appreciate it on Boxing Day (she's working).

As I am sure most people are aware, James Brown died on Christmas Day aged 73. I'm proud to say that I got to see him once - he played at the Edinburgh Live8 gig in July 2005, and he was amazing, even for that brief appearance. I'm not an authority on James Brown, and there are many thousands of people out there far more qualified to talk about him than I, but for his huge contribution to music, I salute you. If you haven't got any of his music, then shame on you, but go here and start filling those gaps in your music collection. You really, really need tracks like 'I Feel Good' and 'Sex Machine' in your record collection. Given that this usually leads to stuff being issued posthumously, let's see if we can get the inevitable re-issue to No.1. Mind you, given that as of January 1, 2007 the singles chart effectively becomes a songs chart, perhaps we don't even need to wait for this, and can just go ahead and do the job ourselves...

The NME have been amzingly active and have put this tribute up to James Brown, including links to some YouTube appearances. Click here (BTW if anyone does come across any great tributes on the net, please leave a message for me and I will post the links).

Speaking of January charts, now is the time when bands, or rather their record labels, take advantage of the traditional post-Christmas dip in sales to launch new bands given that a) there is less competition from established acts (OK I know the Strokes put out their third album on January 2 in 2006, but that's fairly unusual). One of the acts who will be taking advantage of this are Good Shoes, who released their debut single on Christmas Day (are there many record shops (as opposed to download services) open in the UK on Christmas Day). This can be heard by following this link where you can hear three tracks streamed in their entirety and see the video.

The Cooper Temple Clause have also got a new single out, on January 8 on physical format, but available to download from iTunes now, and can be heard on their website.

I'm looking forward to 2007 - I will post a list of albums that are due out soon (not because I am a pawn of the music industry - though if people want me to review music/gigs for free I'm up for it) but because it's stuff I'm interested in too.

Finally, I recently mentioned the Jock 'n' Roll poll of best ever Scottish singles; they have produced a Top 150 for Christmas, and are still taking votes, so go and vote if you haven't done already and check it out here!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all my readers and fellow bloggers! I will be back on December 26...If you are on a late-hunt for Christmas music, scan some of the recommended blogs, especially Another Form Of Relief and I am fuel, You Are Friends.
love and hugs Edxx

Friday, December 22, 2006

Best of 2006

OK guys - thought it might be good to post links to some of the best tracks of 2006...

First up, one of the albums I bought in the last few days is Amy Winehouse's Back To Black. It truly is worth hearing, and so different from the first album in 2003. You can go to Fingertips to download Rehab, but do yourself a favour and buy the album. It's already proving very pleasantly addictive...more 60's/70's classic soul than the jazzier sound of her debut...

Next up, over at Pitchfork they have The Rapture's Get Myself Into It here.

Though there hasn't been anything like the sheer amount of hysteria as there was when Echoes came out a couple of years back, new album Pieces of the people we love is still worth a place on your Turntable/iPod/CD player.

The wonderful SubPop is always worth a look...especially as the media page
has music from CSS and The Shins (cannot wait for new Shins album). I know I have posted links to these several times but when they are as good as this...

Finally Insound can provide mp3s for The Gossip and The Scanners, amongst others.

As always, if you like what you hear, please support the artist involved, by going to Amazon or any record shop and buying their music!

As of a couple of hours ago, I am now on holiday for the next few weeks. Hopefully I will have a bit more time to devote t0 the blog... : )

Merry Christmas to all my readers

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

What the heck...?

tried to post a video over an hour ago. grr...if it's not Blogger it's YouTube...

watch this space...

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Festive Fifty 2006

OK, obviously, this is not a John Peel-endorsed one, but in honour of the great man (and because I was not going to have time to listen to everything I have downloaded/bought this year) this is my personal festive 50. Feedback and comments welcome.

1. Long Blondes 'Weekend Without Make-Up'
2. Primal Scream 'Country Girl'
3. My Latest Novel 'When We Were Wolves'
4. The Gossip 'Standing In The Way Of Control'
5. Morrissey 'You Have Killed Me'
6. X-Vectors 'Now Is The Winter Of Our Discoteque' (winner of the 17seconds award for best title)
7. Nelly Furtado 'Maneater'
8. CSS 'Let's Make Love And Listen To Death From Above'
9. Corinne Bailey Rae 'Put Your Records On'
10. Muse 'Starlight'
11. Aberfeldy 'Whatever Turns You On'
12. Camera Obscura 'Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken'
13. The Shins 'Phantom Limb'
14. Love Is All 'Make Out. Fall Out. Make Up.'
15. Luke Haines 'Off My Rocker At The Art School Bop.'
16. Peter Bjorn & John 'Let's Call the Whole Thing Off.'
17. Junior Boys 'In The Morning'
18. The Fratellis 'Chelsea Dagger'
19. The Organ 'Brother'
20. Muse 'Supermassive Black Hole'
21. Neil's Children 'Another Day'
22. Amy Winehouse 'Rehab'
23. Yo La Tengo 'Pass The Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind'
24. Arctic Monkeys 'Leave before The lights Come On'
25. Peter Bjorn & John 'Young Folks'
26. Snow Patrol 'Chasing Cars'
27. Camera Obscura 'Let's Get Out Of This Country'
28. The View 'Superstar Tradesman'
29. Gruff Rhys 'Candylion'
30. The Spinto Band 'Oh Mandy'
31. The Futureheads 'Skip To The End'
32. Arctic Monkeys 'When The Sun Goes Down'
33. Albert Hammond Jr 'Back to the 101'
34. The Rapture 'Get Myself Into It'
35. Yo La Tengo 'Beanbag Chair'
36. Scanners 'Low life'
37. The Feeling 'I Love It When you Call'
38. The Delays 'Valentine
39. Rogers Sisters 'Never Learn To Cry'
40. Aberfeldy 'Hynotised'
41. Scritti Politti 'The Boom Boom Bap'
42. The Pipettes 'Pull Shapes'
43. The Upper Room 'Black And White World'
44. Hot Chip 'Never Learn To Cry'
45. Belle and Sebastian 'The Blues Are Still Blue'
46. Long Blondes 'Once and Never Again'
47. Mogwai 'Friend Of The Night'
48. Morrissey 'The Youngest Was The Most Loved'
49. The Raconteurs 'Steady As She Goes'
50. Dirty Pretty Things 'Bang Bang You're Dead'

Looking at the above list, I'm reminded thatit's been another fantastic year for music (at the beginning of 2000, I almost gave up on music altogether as I just felt that I couldn't connect with most of what was out there). There's a lot of wonderful stuff out there, and it's a very close call for some of these. It's also amazing to think how much good stuff Rough Trade are putting out too.

I'm also reminded that not working in a record shop any more, it's also quite hard to hear everything that comes out. But hey.

Let the rows commence. Feel free to disagree- but leave a message and let me know what YOU think is the track of the year,

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Other projects...

It's unbelievably busy at Christmastime, so I'm gonna make this quick...

first of all, one of my other musical projects, Johnny Caramel, an electronica act, have now got a myspace page, so go along and give us a listen here

additionally, I am also in the process of trying to work out how to rank my singles and albums of the year. I have bought a fair few this year, and am going to struggle to listen to every single little bit in the next couple of weeks. I am probably going to do a 'Festive 50' of my personal favourite tracks of the year -but I would be interested to know what has rocked your world, musically at least!

Additionally, on a related topic, I got an email from Simon at Sweeping the Nation who says:

"Last year, we at Sweeping The Nation ran a UK Blogger Albums Of 2005 poll - results at It seemed popular so we're giving it another go - if you want to participate, send us what you reckon to be the ten best albums in order that were given a full UK release in 2006 (no Special Edition reissues, compilations or imports) and on New Year's Day we'll post the collated list.

Sweeping The Nation

I am hugely enjoying writing 17 seconds, but due to the Blogger Updates etc.. I currently have no idea of how many people are reading the blog, so unless I get sufficient emails/replies to posts, it will be likely to be all about me for this year, at least!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Sorry for laughing

There are all sorts of signs that you're getting older, 'senior moments' as they are now dubbed. As well as forgetting things, the other sign is that you hear youself sounding like your parents, or even your own teachers. Like a few kids I blew up for laughing today. Hey. I've waited a long time to find a way of dealing with the pent-up bitterness that builds up as youthful idealism turns sour. 'Here's a man who was hung on the expectation of plenty,' as the Porter observes in Shakespeare's Macbeth.
Anyway, Josef K have put out an album called Entomology, which ties up their back catalogue (2004 Scritti Politti, 2005 Orange Juice, 2006 Josef K...who's next for 2007 from the original mighty post-punkers? Fire Engines or Scars, I would hope.). This is slightly different from the version that poped up on Rough Trade 's Indie-Pop 1 compilation a couple of years back, with a slightly 'dub' feel.

That's courtesy of the Domino record company's US site (yup, legal!), where I also picked up this rather fantastic remix of the Junior Boys' The Equalizer, remixed by Morgan Geist

As always, if you like what you hear, even if these are legal downloads sourced from a site, please support the artists involved, either by buying from Amazon or from iTunes or from your local independent shop.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Soothing sounds

Now I'm getting the hang of this! Trying to unwind and flicking through the stuff I have uploaded to my Ipod has reminded me that I really need to post this track to the blog, because as the second single of the former Pavement frontman's eponymous debut in 2001, it was a sign that Stephen Malkmus could go on to do great things. This was one of my favourite songs of 2001, the year I moved to Scotland. I never forgot this, but I feel like I have re-discovered it again over the last week or so...

Stephen Malkmus -'Jenny and the Ess-Dog.' mp3

Smitten? Thought you might be...

from that Eponymous debut:

Stephen Malkmus -'The Hook.' mp3

from 2003's Pig Lib

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks -'(Do Not Feed The Oyster.' mp3

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks -'Us.' mp3

and from last year's Face The Truth:

Stephen Malkmus -'Baby C'mon.' mp3

As always, if you like the stuff, please support the artist involved, either by buying at Amazon or on iTunes or at your local record shop.

All three albums are worth owning, though I love the first the most perhaps. And obviously, check out Pavement and Pavement guitarist Spiral Stairs' band Preston school Of Industry. Maybe that might just be another post... : )

Ok-let's try again

Well, I'm almost certain I have figured out what the hell I'm doing : )
It's been a long day at the chalkface, but I think it's time there was some music on the blog.
First up, Cold War Kids I know these guys have been all over the blogs recently, but this track is just kinda cool, so here goes:
If you like what you hear, try here for more Cold War Kids stuff on their own website.
As always, go here to buy stuff or your local record shop.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Christmas time already? Bah humbug!

Hmm. Not only am I trying to find enthusiasm for teaching the subject, but it seems the blogs have gone Christmas mad already.

Seriously, there are lots of wonderful posts on the subject, with links to some weird and wonderful music.

Alas, due to problems with the supposedly new and improved blogger, it is currently impossible to do links to other blogs. Grrr... When I get this fixed, I will update this - or if anyone can leave some advice, that would be great (CTRL+SHIFT +A is not working).

Anyway, may I point you in the direction of Something Old, Something New ( and Pogoagogo ( and Everbody cares, Everybody understands ( which have a lot of great stuff, that I am still trying to digest, amongst it all the new sufjan Stevens album, which consists of 5 CDs, but the bits I have heard sound great. apparently, he is well underway with the next few stages of his mission to do an album for all of his fifty states.

Hope all well with all my readers, wherever you may be...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


This track has been posted all over the net, but, just in case you haven't heard it, you HAVE to hear The Shins' new track Phantom Power, which is on their new album, out in January. Along with the new Bloc Party album, it's starting to spill onto the blogs, and it would be nice if a few more tracks could come our way legally before the album comes out (hey, we got two from the Yo La Tengo album. Just wondering...will buy it anyway!)

The Shins -'Phantom Power.'mp3

If you like what you hear, go to the Sandwich club, which has some cool covers by The Shins.

Oh, and I know I posted on them a few months back, but if you really haven't heard any other stuff by the Shins, go to the Sub Pop media page. you are in for a treat. Go buy all their albums either here or at your local independent record shop.

PS I know I haven;t posted any new photos recently, but will do once new computer bloody lets me!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Gig review: Paul Buchanan/Jane Taylor

Gig review: Paul Buchanan/Jane Taylor

Usher Hall, Edinburgh November 25, 2006

Different bands emote different kinds of weather and scenarios in your head. Massive Attack emote edgy, urban paranoia (reinforced by pretty much every video from Safe From Harm onwards, bar Teardrop, obviously). Belle and Sebastian and Camera Obscura's gorgeous tweeness - and I use that as a compliment - evoke childhood memories of blackberry picking and playing pooh sticks. And The Blue Nile? The romance and beauty of a rainy night. Particularly in Scotland, where we get a lot of these.

Edinburgh's Usher Hall is playing host for two nights to Paul Buchanan's 'solo' tour (though the merchandise stall has plenty of Blue Nile T-shirts, suggesting they are still very much a going concern). And frankly, the devotion the band inspire is amazing, given that in their twenty-year plus career they have only released four albums. Amazing, that is, until you hear them, and realise that whilst they may Stone Roses type of gaps between albums, it's generally worth the wait (whereas when the Roses second LP eventually appeared, it took a while to admit to yourself that you were, if you were being honest, quite a little bit disappointed).

First on is Jane Taylor, who walks onto the stage armed with just her acoustic guitar. As I've noted here before, the solo singer-songwriter opening up for a band can really have their work cut out for them, unless they really have something special...and she does. Whilst I realise that 'support from Johnnie Walker on Radio 2' may cause certain people to turn off, he knew what he was onto here. This really is a smokey blues voice, an album 'Montpelier' released that is working it's way along at groundroots level (remember, after all, that 'indie' is short for independent, rather than just being a description of a sound), and I hope reaches a wider audience. She doesn't take herself seriously, always a risk with any musician, and that combined with
that voice and songs to match, and some great anecdotes means she deserves to make it. Anyone who lumps her in with Eva Cassidy and Norah Jones is just lazy and missing the point.

The reverence this audience have for Buchanan is unbelievavble. Whilst the Nile have never 'rocked out' (quote unquote), the roar of recognition at each track as they recognise them - often from a simple drum-beat - is a sign that people wait so long for a Blue Nile album 'cos they know it will be worth it. Opening up with 'Over the hillside' from 1989's Hats, the connection with his audience is complete very quickly. Whilst their sound may evoke those rainy nights, the sheer goddamn joy of hearing them is like hot chocolate for the soul. In 1997, at a very wet and muddy Glastonbury festival, The Blue Nile pretty much bought the sun out for the first time that weekend. As he goes straight into Peace At Last, all worries outside the hall are laid to rest.

There are still people who will get into discussions about which Nile album is better out of the first two, A Walk Across the Rooftops or Hats. My money has always been on Hats, but it's tracks from the first album that really, really hit the spot tonight, like the gently experimental title track, Easter Parade and Tinseltown in the Rain. Buchanan apologises for his voice having difficulty tonight, but the crowd help him out on the chorus of the latter song, and it's soaring. (This song is currently in the top 5 of the Jocknroll poll).

The set finishes with an astonishing take on The Downtown Lights, which could be the perfect finish - but it turns out that he has an unexpected ace up his sleeve. When he comes on for the encore, we get High, and then he finishes with Strangers In The Night, done Blue Nile style (NB the song popularised by Frank Sinatra, not 747 (Strangers in the Night) by Saxon. That would be wrong). And boy, is it wonderful.

The two new - untitled, as far as I can tell, songs played tonight suggest that while it may, as ever be a long wait for the next album, indeed as long as the river itself - we can wait. Few bands I have seen this year can match this for sheer emotional connection and joy.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Kiss Kiss Molly's Lips

Hi there. Hoping for a quiet(er) weekend, so finally have got around to posting again. Thanks for all the feedback on the Jocknroll - always good to know people are reading.

I may do several posts this weekend, to make up for all I've been missing. First of all, may I push you, nah, shove you, in the direction of The Vaselines. For those of you who haven't encountered the Vaselines, boy are you in for a treat! Frances McKee, Eugene Kelly, James Seenan and Charlie Kelly may have made only a handful of records, but, as they say, their influence cannot be under-estimated. Brian Eno famously said that only a few people may habe brought the first Velvet Underground album, but everyone who did went and formed a band. That's the thing was the Vaselines, they make you feel like you should go and form a band. And if you're singing about sex in pretty well every song, then, you can't argue with that. They were tied in with the C86 movement in retrospect, but they were kind of a bit later than that.

Their most famous fan was Kurt Cobain, who covered several of their songs; Jesus Doesn't want Me For A Sunbeam on their MTV Unplugged album and Son Of A Gun and Molly's Lips can be found on Incesticide. However, it would be nice to think that the Vaselines would be remembered and treasured even if it weren't for Seattle's finest.

This is a fansite on myspace, where you can hear and download tracks - given that Egene and Frances are 'friends' I think you can consider that endorsed! But don't forget to check out both Eugene and Frances's own myspace pages where you can hear what they have been up to, not forgetting Eugene's own website. These are people who helped make not just the scottish music scene what it is, but also impated massively on the whole 'indie/alternative/whatever' music scene across the world over the last twenty years. And it's time that those people who don't realise it woke up to it!

Buy All the Stuff And More at Amazon.

And while you're there, go and buy all the stuff by Eugenius, Suckle, Frances and Eugene you can find. Or, go and check your local independent shop
Then let me know what you think!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Hello...still here

It's been a busy week or so. Am still alive, and so far, being thirty has been way better than I thought it might be. I went out for dinner with my better three-quarters and then she and I went to see Half-Man Half-Biscuit. I have also now sorted myself out with a new computer and so am hoping to be doing more regular updates.

What I would like to point you in the direction of is a website called Jocknroll where they are polling readers for their favourite ever scottish singles. Please go and vote. It's certainly NOT just indie, as there have been many great scottish acts who weren't.

I keep changing my mind about my Scottish Top Ten singles, but right now it would be:

1. The Delgados ' No Danger [Kids' choir edit]
2. Franz Ferdinand 'Darts of Pleasure EP'
3. Aberfeldy 'Heliopolis by night'
4. Associates 'White car in Germany'
5. Shop Assistants 'I Don't Want to be friends with you'
6. Belle and Sebastian 'This is just a modern rock song'
7. Proclaimers 'Sunshine on Leith'
8. Sons & Daughters 'Johnny Cash'
9. Arab Strap 'Turbulence [Bis remix]'
10. This mortal coil 'Song to the siren.'

Mind you, even typing out that list, I realise that I haven't included Mogwai, Jesse Garon and the Desperadoes, Teenage Fanclub, Cosmic Rough Riders,Mull Historical Society, Blue Nile, Boards of Canada, Mylo, Travis, Deacon Blue, Cocteau Twins, Josef k, The Fire Engines, Idlewild, Bis, Simple Minds, Eurythmics, Wet wet wet, Texas...what do you mean, I cannot be serious about the last four? Granted, some of them produced some...rubbish, but they also produced some gems:
Simple Minds' first albums, up to about 1984 were fab (Belfast Child is hideous, though), Texas were great until they decided to start cuddling up to Chris Evans and the Wu-Tang Clan (I Don't want A Lover is excellent), Eurythmics produced some stunning early stuff like Sweet Dreams, and wet wet wet's High on the happy side album has some great moments. Love is all around was tedious by the end of it's reign, though. Way I see it, if the Beatles were all still alive, and had never split, there would have been some hideous records from them (check the solo careers).

So go to the site, work it out and add your own list. They also want worst tracks...well, even a country with a music scene as fertile as this one can't get it right all the time!

And please, let me know what you think. This blog continues to get quite a lot of hits, so let's have some feedback!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

See it in your eyes

So, tomorrow, I'm thirty.

Bloody hell. So much for live fast die young stay beautiful.

Anyway, after a fantastic birthday party, it would be time to post someting bouncy, surely?

Nah, in typically pervserse mode, this is Public Image Ltd, on Top of the pops, oerforming 'Death Disco'. Who would have thought that the 'Swan Lake' theme would work so well in this context? The Sex Pistols may have given the music industry a massive kick up the backside, and a well-needed one at that, but PIL's music was genuinely far more innnovative. No wonder Malcolm McLaren couldn't control him.

PIL Death Disco

Buy PIL on Amazon.

Though if you want a copy of the Original Metal Box album, try e-bay!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Hotly anticipated...

What can I say? One of the most anticipated albums of the year, the Long Blondes
have released Someone to drive you home...and the release date has already happened! Doh...that's what happens when you cannot get to the record shop first thing on a Monday cos you're teaching. Anyway, Weekend Without Make-up is now possibly my single of the year, and these two other singles show why they have been talked up so much.

Weekend Without Makeup - The Long Blondes

The Long Blondes, Separated by Motorways

The Long Blondes - Once and Never Again

Buy The Long Blondes on Amazon

The Long Blondes official website

The Long Blondes on Myspace

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


And suddenly November is upon us, I'm thirty next week (how'd that happen? I mean, I'm on Myspace and stuff...Oh.), and I've got a cold and the dark Scottish weather is starting to kick in.

So what could be more appropriate than Stuart Braithwaite and his merry men? Mogwai, for it is they, are the perfect soundtrack to these dark nights. Almost always instrumental, and the masters of the previously mentioned 'Scottish indie aesthetic', they include the mighty Cure amongst their influences, as well as Slayer, Sonic Youth and Slint. Sometimes DEATH DEFYINGLY LOUD, and sometimes so quiet you have to turn the record player up very loud, then dash across the room as you realise you are just about to wreck your speakers. But always beautiful. They have collaborated with Aidan Moffat from Arab Strap, and at one time included Teenage Fanclub/BMX Bandits member Brendan O'Hare amongst their number, as 'musician without portfolio.' (sic)

Five albums in, trying to pick a favourite album depends on what you have heard. So go and buy the lot! If you have never heard these stalwarts of the scottish music scene, try these for tasters, as well as visting their Myspace page and onetime label Chemikal Underground, where many tracks can be streamed, not to mention their own web page, where you can download tracks as Podcasts. See, generous with it too.

If you are strapped for cash, I would recommend you start with Young Team, their debut, it's a very good place to start. They need a home in your record collection. Some tracks are short, some last longer than a Civil Wedding Service (2001 single My Father, My King - a cover of a Jewish prayer is twenty minutes long). My favourite track, which also features Gruff Rhys from Super Furry Animals fame has to be Dial:Revenge. This being a collaboration between two of the Celtic fringe's finest, it's sung in welsh. Only a tennybopper could resist.

Try these for starters:

Mogwai -'Tracy.' mp3 from 1997's Young Team

Mogwai -'Dial: Revenge.' mp3 from 2001's Rock Action

Mogwai -'Hunted By A Freak.' mp3 from 2003's Happy Songs For Happy People

Mogwai -'Folk Death 95.' mp3 from 2006's Mr. Beast

As always, if you like what you hear, support the artists involved.

Buy Mogwai on Amazon

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Have you heard...The Gossip?

First of all, these guys have been around for a while, so I cannot claim to be putting a new band your way. But if you haven't heard The Gossip before, and I was a Johnny-come-lately too, now you must!

From the US, based in Portland, Oregon, three-piece the Gossip remind me of The Bellrays, The Slits and The Rapture (especially circa Out Of The Races And Onto The Tracks). This track has just been re-released in the UK - go get it!

The Gossip -'Standin the way of control.' mp3

Gossip Standing In The Way Of Control

Like what you hear? Their myspace page has more tracks to stream, whilst more tracks can also be found at here at Insound and at the Kill Rockstars media page.

And, as always, if you like what you hear, support the music, go and buy it!

Buy The Gossip at Amazon

The Official Gossip website

The Official Gossip myspace

Saturday, November 04, 2006

As Not seen on TV

OK, you're probably all aware that U2 and Green Day have teamed up to cover The Skids' 'The Saints Are Coming' to raise funds for victims of Hurricane Katrina last year in New Orleans. The single is out next week and can be bought here. However, this is the video, which satirises CNN and Bush's attempt (ha!) to deal with the situation. I know it's easy to take shots at both bands, but I still like to feel that hearts are in the right place. Hope you're all having a good weekend.

U2 and Green Day

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Gig review: Cooper Temple Clause/Battle

Gig review: The Cooper Temple Clause/Battle

Liquid Rooms, Edinburgh October 30, 2006

This is, perhaps surprisingly, only The Cooper Temple's Clause's second visit to Edinburgh. The last time they played here, January 2002, they had just that day released the Double A-side single 'Film-maker/Been Training Dogs' which would take them into the UK Top 40 for the first time. Their debut, See This Through And Leave was raring to go. And go they did, with festival appearances, Top Of the Pops etc.. and then after the release of their second album, Kick Up The Fire And Let The Flames Burn Loose in 2003, after a few months...seemingly silence. Then earlier this year, the Dirty Pretty Things emerged, having taken Didz Hammond from the Coopers, and a number of mp3s started to appear on the Coopers' website. So have they still got it it in 2006?

First, while I wait for the first TCTC gig since February 2004 (Glasgow Academy, co-headlining with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, since you ask), openers Battle blaze their way through a crows that they warm up very quickly. If they are not capable of selling out the Liquid rooms in less than a year, then frankly, somethings gone wrong somewhere. They look great - always a bonus - and sound so cool and together. By the second song, Isabel, it's clear this world could be theirs for the taking. How to describe their sound? Well, let's just say, you have an idea how U2's Boy might have sounded if they had made it having heard Bloc Party, The Futureheads and Franz Ferdinand. Moments of white noise, funkiness and epicness. By the time of the two final songs, Children and Easy To Listen to close the set, it is clear that Jason Bavanandan and the boys are destined for big things. Tell 'em 17 seconds told you about them.

And then the Coopers come on. Bearded three of the five may be in 2006, and there's been a hell of a lot happening in the UK's indie scene since, but oh. Before they even play a note, it's abundantly obvious that the energy and sheer joy they brought to a stagnant scene in 2001 is still there in spades. Kasabian must have been taking notes. As they tear into Promises, Promises it really is like they have never been away. When you haven't seen a band for a few years, it's easy to almost forget things - like their swapping of instruments effortlessly without appearing like musos- seem. The second song is Homo Sapiens, no.36 in this week's chart (already higher than Blind Pilots and Let's Kill Muisc got, then). As well as older songs that are greeted with sheer roars of joy, the Coopers also manage to play songs of the new album, due January, which go down extremely well with the crowd - always a risk playing stuff off an as yet unreleased album, even in the era of the internet, but Waiting Game and Connected sound like tracks strong enough to pre-order that album. Of the new songs, I am sounds like fantatsic, the essence of the Cooper Temple Clause, being a ballad on some levels and white noise on others - at the same time. The aforementioned Connected is reminiscent of Depeche Mode circa Speak and Spell. Film-maker and this year's download track Damage fasten their hold onto you, but perhaps the biggest surprise is the way Panzer Attack has evolved from a hard-as-nails rocker into a hard-as-nails techno stomper. 2006 suggests that beats will sake their claim on 'indie' territory in 2007, but remember who you should be paying respects to. They encore with Who needs enemies? and finally, their most sublime moment still, Blind Pilots.

Pity the fools who forgot. The Cooper Temple Clause have never sounded better or been more relevant.

Battle on Myspace

Battle's official website

The Cooper Temple Clause on Myspace

The Cooper Temple Clause's official site

Buy Battle on Amazon

Buy The Cooper Temple Clause on Amazon

Three for three friends

Hello again, it's been a busy time asusual, trying to balance work, social life and music, but here I am back again.

This post is for three friends, Rob and Emma who had my girlfriend and I to stay with them in Oban over the weekend, and my friend Gordon who came with me to see the Cooper Temple Clause and Battle on Monday (review coming very, very soon.

Rob said he hadn't heard Camera Obscura - so here, for Rob and Emma is Camera Obscura - still my favourite album of the year with 'Let's Get Out Of This Country.'

Camera Obscura -'I Need All The Friends I Can Get.' mp3

Meanwhile, on Monday, inbetween bands, Gordon and I were discussing how great British sea Power were and he admitted that he hadn't heard The Brakes album, the offshoot project also involving The Electric Soft Parade and others, including the Pipettes. So, Gordon, here is The Brakes:

The Brakes -'Heard About Your Band.' mp3

And of course, because the above track name-checks could I resist?

Sleater-Kinney - 'Oh!' mp3

Buy Camera Obscura on Amazon

Buy The Brakes on Amazon

Buy Sleater-Kinney on Amazon

Friday, October 27, 2006

Gig review: Aberfeldy

(Picture taken by Sam Garnett.
Aberfeldy : the Bongo Club, Edinburgh, October 27, 2006)

These are truly strange times we all live in. Last week Aberfeldy were playing in Mexico to 7,000 people in a country where their record isn't even out. Meanwhile, back in the UK, at Edinburgh's Bongo Club (admittedly a place with a much smaller capacity) the crowd are much smaller, but they are doing a hastily arranged gig for Oxjam, and they are back on home turf... it's great to see them back here.

Just to put it in some kind of context, I have now seen Aberfeldy seven times. So, yes, I came to praise Aberfeldy, and dragging my friends along with me (my girlfriend, sam, who provided the photo at the top has seen them a mere three times. But I digress). And as I mentioned before, they have just grown so much. The band have become so tight on stage, and just look so goddamn cool. No Safari suits for Riley this evening, but from the minute 'A Friend Like You' starts, it's like being greeted by an old friend, someone you've grown up with, and who is starting to seem to happy in themselves. It opens their first album, Young Forever, and I think, virtually every gig I have ever seen them play.

Their new album, Do Whatever Turns You On, grows on playing. Back at home typing this up, and listening to the album, I realise just how these songs are starting to worm my way into my consciousness (maybe they just need time, rather than more singles off the album). 'If-Then' and '1970s' certainly rate with the best songs on their debut. Yet, it's also so good to hear 'Surly Girl' and debut single 'Vegetarian Restaurant' again. The backing vocals from Sarah and Ruth on 'Surly' could melt the hardest heart, no matter how many times I hear it. Vegetarian Restaurant is actually about Susie's Diner in Edinburgh. Maybe edinburgh will one day have it's own rock'n'roll tour and a plaque outside (then again, I remember thinking the Dublin one seemed to be clutching at straws, so perhaps not).

Four songs from the new album 'Poetry,' 'All True Trendies' 'Whatever turns you on' and 'Uptight' are played in succession, and you start to feel that it doesn't matter if they're not interspersed with songs off the debut, you want to hear these new ones too. The chemistry between the band still seems strong, with Murray looking like he's been the drummer here forever, and Ken looking pretty content with himself too.

The band finish the set with 'love is an arrow' and remind us that it was their big hit, reaching no.60 last year. If there is justice, this will be surpassed soon enough. They come on for an encore of Devo's 'Beautiful World' which goes seemlessly into 'Heliopolis by night.' And as ever, we all do the radio ga-ga hand-claps.

The feldys continue to grow and delight. Let's hope more records come, whether they're out in Scotland or Mexico. My friends go off into the night, promising to buy the Cds and saying they want to see them again. You will be held to this, guys.

The Setlist (with thanks to Ken)
A Friend Like You
Surly Girl
Vegetarian Restaurant
Summer's Gone
Tom Weir
All True Trendies
Whatever Turns You On
Love Is An Arrow

Beautiful World/Heliopolis By Night

What Damon did next

OK - I'm sure you probably knew this but next week sees the release of another Damon Albarn-related project The Good The Bad And The Queen. Of course, this time round, his collaborators are none other than bassist Paul Simonon from the Clash, guitarist Simon Tong from The Verve and Fela Kuti's drummer Tony Allen. Truly Damon is a renaissance man - he's forty next year, so watch out for a whole wealth of articles then that will be considering just how far he's come since 1990 (why do I get the feeling that this is not going to happen to Noel Gallagher?). It's hard to judge the project on the basis of just one track, but this is really very good, and let's face it, with that list of collaborators, there is going to be no shortage of media and indeed public interest.

Their myspace page only has the aforementioned tune to stream, but there is a new album to follow in 2007. (Don't bite my head off Damon, but do I take it that is going to mean no new studio album from Blur or Gorillaz next year then? Er, just wondering). The single is out now to download and will be released on Monday October 30 in the UK on CD and 7" and deleted that day, so act quickly.

Buy The Good The Bad And The Queen on Amazon

Thursday, October 26, 2006

National Parks, anyone?

Oxford Collapse's track Please Visit Your National Parks is the mp3 of the week at the mighty Subpop. Rather taken with its quirky charms, I thought I would post a link to it here, and also include the video which appears below. Something happening in Brooklyn, though I'm guessing all the sheep sheering didn't take place there... Oh, and anybody think the title is rather reminiscent of Grandaddy (RIP)?

The Oxford Collapse -'Please Visit Your National Parks.' mp3

Please Visit Your National Parks - Oxford Collapse

If you like that there are more mp3s at the official site and also at their myspace page

Buy Remember The Night Parties album at Amazon

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

In the beginning there was Bobby

Flicking through YouTube I came across these two videos. I have to say I love the way Primal Scream have changed so much over the years, from fey indie pop to biker rockers to dance pioneers to stones influenced rockers...and so on. Country Girl is one of my favourite singles of the year, but as one of Scotland's greatest bands, here is a video apiece from their first two albums, Sonic Flower Groove and Primal Scream, released in 1987 and 1989 respectively. Not long before, Bobby Gillespie had been the drummer for the Jesus and Mary Chain. Enjoy these...

Gentle Tuesday

Buy Sonic Flower Groove

Ivy Ivy Ivy-Primal Scream

Buy The Primal Scream

Monday, October 23, 2006

Off my rocker

Okay, I realise that I have now mentioned Luke Haines in three consecutive posts, but it is such a great single. Available on 7" for those like me, who are ecstatic to see it flourishing (those of you mocking are seriously behind. 7" sales are up 89% in the last few months. I now feel that CD singles are crap, and have bought one in the past twelve months) or digital download. Let's see if we can get it into the charts...

Off My Rocker At The Art School Bop

The album is out next week. Pre-order it here

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Gig review: Luke Haines/Vinny Peculiar

Gig review: Luke Haines / Vinny Peculiar

Luminaire, London, October 18, 2006

Ever had the feeling that the best nights of your life are the ones that weren't really planned? That's kind of how it was for this night. Luke Haines, he of Auteurs and Black Box Recorder fame, launching his new solo album Off My Rocker At The Art School Bop. I read about the gig on the train in to London, and convinced my brother he had to come. He needed no second telling.

Support came from the fabulous Vinny Peculiar. Managed by Bonehead (yes, he of Oasis fame, the man is a gent), they truly are fabulous. Having not heard their songs before, I was won over, as were the crowd. The singer, Vinny Peculiar himself, just clearly is one of the best singer-songwriters out there right now (if you are having to put your hand up like I was, check the link below. I'm making up for lost time). These are songs that make you laugh - yup, Mr. Zappa, there is room for humour in music, but also think. Check their myspace page,The Everlasting Teenage Bedroom and Jesus Stole My Girlfriend need to be heard. Now. Oh, and the band also include Mike Joyce and Craig Gannon from The Smiths. What are you waiting for?

In 1993, The Auteurs' debut album New Wave suggested that in Luke Haines, here was someone who should be up there as one of England's greatest lyricists. If Morrissey reminds me of Alan Bennett, then Luke Haines reminds me of Alfred Hitchcock's British films (think Dial M For Murder, Frenzy, and both versions of The Man Who Knew Too Much.) This evening, backed on bass and drums, Haines demonstrated that he is truly unique and necessary. Whilst some artists seem to hark back to a supposedly wonderful past, Haines reminds us that things weren't perfect either. His is a black sense of humour - I can't imagine the Arctic Monkeys writing a song like Unsolved Child Murder, or The Mitford Sisters. Yet new songs like Leeds United remind us that he can make singalong songs out of the most unlikely themes (even when they seem as bleak as Elvis Costello's I Want You). He knows his stagecraft too 'I felt like Freddie Mercury at Live Aid' he quips at one point. He understands just how dark popular culture can be behind the scenes - Bad Reputation points out how revelations about Gary Glitter's private life have destroyed not only his reputation but also overshadowed childhood memories. He finishes his first part of the set with the Rubettes, and it's still just as dark, but ever more poignant than it was in 1999. 'Weren't the nineties great?' When he returns for the encore and asks what songs we want to hear, no-one's yelling for the Richard x remix of the latest single, but there's so many songs we might want to hear -Showgirl, Junk Shop Clothes, Chinese Bakery, Lenny Valentino...but Baader Meinhof and Future Generation more than hit the spot.

In 2000, as part of Black Box Recorder, Haines was on Top of the Pops performing Facts of Life. That show has long since gone, but Haines is still with us, a 'cult act' if you like, but oh, how his songbook deserves to be in so many more homes. A true original. Like I say, some of the best nights out are the ones that weren't planned.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Do not change your browser

...a new post is coming very soon.

Went to an amazing gig on Wednesday night in London, Luke Haines (yes, he of Auteurs and Black Box Recorder fame) and Vinny Peculiar. A review is coming soon, but if you haven't heard either of these bands check these out:

Vinny Peculiar - Official website / Myspace page

Luke Haines - Official website/ Myspace page

Buy Luke Haines on Amazon

Buy The Auteurs on Amazon

Buy Black Box Recorder on Amazon

Buy Vinny Peculiar on Amazon

Sunday, October 15, 2006

History Boys

Hello there. First of all, the blog is now three months old, so thank you everyone who has read it and chipped in their bit, and even those who have linked to it. I still am probably not the most savvy with technology - but compared to my first post three months ago, I can now post links to music, include videos and have an idea about how to monitor it all.

Anyway, just got back from the cinema where I went with friends to watch the History Boys. Great film, sad in places but a hell of a lot of laughs too. Mystified how people can do a film about life in the 80s without referring to the political situation, but hey...oh, and great soundtrack too. Here are videos to three songs which appear on the soundtrack, out on October 16 in the UK. Enjoy! I really shouldn't need to contextualise these, and for once, take it at face value. Then go and buy the albums, obviously, and go and see the film.

The Smiths - This Charming Man

Buy The Smiths on Amazon

Echo & the Bunnymen -- Never Stop

Buy Echo and the Bunnymen on Amazon

The Cure - A forest

Buy The Cure On Amazon

Buy the History Boys soundtrack

Thursday, October 12, 2006

It's always better on holiday, still think it's a better name for the tune than Jacqueline, but anyway...

A short post today as life is as busy as ever. There is, however, always time for Scottish indie bands. For your listening pleasure check out a fantastic post on Franz Ferdinand at To die By Your Side where there are fantastic acoustic versions of six tracks from their two studio albums. If you thought the remixes added someting, wait til you hear the songs stripped down...

Buy Franz Ferdinand on Amazon

Meanwhile, if you go to Berkeley Place you'll find an excellent post on Snow Patrol, a band who are starting to go absolutely nuclear state-side. Having seen them play the Liquid Rooms in Edinburgh, it's quite something to see them with a Top 5 hit in the US. It also mentions Scottish indie supergroup the Reindeer Section, who are co-ordinated by the Patrol's Gary Lightbody, but also feature members of Belle and Sebastian, Idlewild, V-Twin, and arab strap, amongst others.

Buy Snow Patrol on Amazon

Buy the Reindeer Section on Amazon

Finally, another scottish band, up and coming the X-Vectors should be checked out at their myspace page. They make music that suggests an equal awareness of chicago house and scottish indie sounds. They say that they wish they had lived in Chicago in the 1980s or on a space station. I'd love to drop by that station, but for the meantime, go check them out and become friends with them.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Drop In, Tune In, Turn It Up

Hello again.

Well, inbetween trying to plan lessons and getting on with education, I've managed to get back to the blog.

First of all, still no news on 120 days in the UK but the album is available through Insound here and they have also posted another track from the album, called 'Get Away.'

120 Days -'Get Away.'mp3

If you didn't pick it up before, one of the tracks of the year -surely is this

120 Days -'Come Out (Come Down, Fade Out, Be Gone).'

As well as Norway, there is clearly something stirring in Canada too. Tokyo Police Club make wonderful, short songs that recall fellow countrymen The Arcade Fire, but also Interpol and Death Cab For Cutie. Today they are Spin Magazine's Band Of the Day and you should pay them a visit at myspace too. This doesn't yet seem to have a UK release but Amazon seem to have a few import copies. Check this out:

Tokyo Police Club -'Nature Of the Experiment.' mp3

Finally, The Klaxons are leading the new wave of new rave, or whatever silly label has been applied to it by NME (indie-rave? wasn't that 1991? anyway...) Whilst it's too easy to take pot shots at anyone who appears on it's pages, I who didn't particularly care for rave the 'first' time around (too busy belatedly discovering the Cure and morrissey) think they've got something. What think you?

The Klaxons -'Atlantis to Interzone.' mp3

No album - yet - but there are a few bits on Amazon

Friday, October 06, 2006

What's a guilty pleasure, exactly?

If you're a big music fan, and fancy yourself as a bit of a connoisseur, chances are that you've had various music themed conversations with friends that might have certain characteristics fairly similar to conversations in High Fidelity. Top 5s of various artists, cover versions, best/worst ever, when did X jump the shark etc.. One of the best ones that my friend Sandy Nelson came up with was that of favourite song you shouldn't like. His was Paul McCartney's 'No More Lonely Nights.' Mine was Billy Joel's 'Uptown Girl.'

But how do we decide whether or not something's good really? Is there part of some of us (and I'm sure as hell including myself in this!) that sometimes feels uncomfortable about liking certain songs. Scotland now has an 'indie/alternative' station XFM Scotland that rather like its' namesake station in London plays stuff that's nominally indie, and doesn't play boybands a la McFly, Westlife etc.. or other such rubbish. I might not be allowed by certain hipsters to like the following, but what the hell, I thought they were kinda nice songs.

Corinne Bailey Rae - 'Put Your Records On.' mp3

KT Tunstall -'Black Horse and the Cherry Tree.' mp3

The Feeling -'Sewn.' mp3

The Magic Numbers -'Forever Lost.' mp3

Buy Corinne Bailey Rae

Buy KT Tunstall

Buy The Feeling

Buy The Magic Numbers

The perfect backflip?

As you know, I'm always trying to post towards exciting Scottish bands on here, so tonight I'm going to do a wee post on Ballboy. Like My Latest Novel Ballboy were a band I saw supporting the Delgados (RIP. one day I WILL do a post on Chemikal Underground records and the Delgados). Like Arab Strap, there's just a real honestness here, and maybe the fact that they come from my adopted hometown of Edinburgh and singer Gordon McIntyre was a Primary School teacher (alright, so I'm secondary but.) Ballboy may have a fair bit in common with the aforementioned Strap, Novel, Delgados and Belle and Sebastian, they are also quite political: 'I hate Scotland' was dedicated to Brian Souter and his 'Keep Clause 28' campaign, while 'The Sash My Father Wore' was actually an attack on sectarianism. They also covered Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA, minus the bombast, but with the direct hit of the man's intent. Not to mention 'Sex is Boring' which reminds me of one of my exasperated rants at trendier than thou types. Though not about sex, obviously.

Ballboy -'I Hate Scotland.' mp3

Ballboy -'Sex Is Boring (John Peel Session version March 21 2000).' mp3

If this whets your appetite, please check their website which has a whole load of downloads. Then, as always,, go and buy Ballboy

Also check out their website sl records which has more on Ballboy and other bands.

Finally, I have now changed the blog so that people can leave comments if they do not have a blog. However, these are monitored - i.e. if you write stuff that's unpleasant or offensive, it won't be permitted, and you'll be hunted down like a dog. There's also a really nifty little counter letting me know how many poeple have read the blog so I can see how many people are reading this!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Various...various what, exactly?

Various usually means what it says on the tin. But in this case, it's a fantastic set of wonderful leftfield electronica stuff that seems to be destined to throw people off the scent. i heard this 7" a year ago...if you haven't already, do so!

Various -'Hater.' mp3

Let me know if you know anything more about this!

All my life...

Reportedly, Razorlight could be No.1 in the UK on Sunday. Overall, I welcome this, as it's nice to see them do well, even if it's not the best single they've done, and it's been kinda good to see the scissor sisters at no.1 But hey! I have commented here before how much I think they sound like Bruce Springsteen...but what about the Boomtown Rats? Bob Geldof's much-maligned band, without which etc.. Whaddya reckon?

Razorlight - America

Buy the Razorlight album on Amazon. Or even better, go to your local high street indie store and buy the single. On vinyl.

boomtown rats _ dont like mondays

Buy the Boomtown Rats on Amazon

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

My new favourite band...Love Is All

You know that feeling when you buy a bunch of stuff and there were things you set out to get and yet it ends up being the afterthought that you enjoy the most? Yes? No?! Well, it happened almost ten years ago, when I was at uni and my friend Emma and I went into town to buy Pop by U2, which was new out that day. As an afterthought, maybe 'cos it was on Island as well, I went back and bought Broken English by Marianne Faithfull. The U2 album has had very little play over the last ten years, if I'm being honest. The Marianne Faithfull album is one of my favourites. Just goes to show...

Anyway, I had a similar experience today. I went to get the new Razorlight 7" (or should I say 7"s, 'cos multi-formatting now seems to happen on vinyl, after all this time, though i'm not complaining!) and being vaguely aware of Love Is All picked up their new single 'Make Out.Fall Out. Make Up.' I am now playing this for about the fourth time already, and that includes all the b-sides too.

Sometimes when I try and make comparisons between artists, I know I run the risk of falling on my face (though I compared Razorlight to Bruce Springsteen in 2003, and that one seems to be being born out more with every passing year). I just feel that they sound so fresh right now, that all I can say is just 'cos they come from Gothenburg don't expect them to sound like the Cardigans. I hear maybe a slightly more frantic Concretes and a bit of X-Ray Spex too. That saxophonist is repairing years of damage.

Anyway, this is a brief post as I have to sort out some stuff for teaching tomorrow. But please follow this link here to hear some stuff and see the video for the single.

Then, obviously, go and buy Love Is All

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Gig review: Teenage Fanclub/Bevis Frond

Gig review: Teenage Fanclub/Bevis Frond

Glasgow Barrowlands, September 29, 2006

Once bands have a fair back catalogue behind them, say about five albums, in most cases, there are one or two albums that stand out about the rest. They may not always the band's favourite, but the fans seem to converge on them. In 2003, when Suede decided to call it a day, they played each five of their studio albums on consecutive nights at the ICA in London. Somewhat inevitably, the dates sold out and were going for silly money on ebay. However, whilst tickets for Dog Man Star were going for £1000, tickets for A New Morning were going for a mere £100. This, then, can be the dilemma of playing shows that relate to specific albums that are not concept albums, a la Floyd or the Who; is it going to run the risk of pinpointing that the band's peak is long behind them? And do you play the album in sequence, providing a perfect facsimile that people could have got simply by listening to the album at home, or re-work it? And what about the rest of your back catalogue?

Not necessarily my problem to worry about. After all, having had a tip-off that the tickets were going to go on sale, there was no way I was going to miss this. And it really was one of my gigs of the year: Teenage Fanclub playing their seminal 1991 album Bandwagonesque in its' entirety.

The support band was Bevis Frond, or at least, two fifths of them (their official website seems to have disappeared but there are a lot of articles on them on the web). They were an excellent choice to support Fanclub, especially given that Fanclub once covered their song 'He'd Be A Diamond.' This, they wryly point out, made them ten times more money than anything else they had ever done. Support acts that are just a couple of people with guitars can be a risky choice for support acts, but Frond win the crowd over, the realisation that whilst we may not know many of these songs, we damn well oughta. I spent a happy hour googling them the next day.

And then fanclub come on. Armed with the drummer who drummed on Bandwagonesque, Brendan O'Hare. Since leaving the fanclub, O'Hare has played with Telstar Ponies, BMX Bandits and was also -and I quote " Mogwai's musician without portfolio." He should also consider a career in stand-up comedy, and I mean that as a complement. Fanclub tear straight into The Concept -usually a song they might encore with - and it's pretty much a total high from then on. People genuinely love this album, and I should know, I'm one of them. They play The Concept right the way through, including that coda, before roaring stright into an even shorter version of Satan than on the album (which itself is only 80 seconds long). "Best band in the world" roars someone in the audience in front of me, and fanclub reply with December. They blaze through the album, in order, and it works. It's faithful, but it's still played with passion and the crowd love every minute of it. Brendan jokes inbetween songs, introducing them. the rest of the band seem happy to let him get on with it (perhaps as I might gently indulge a slightly hyperactive but loveable rogue in my classroom. Within reason.) Before the album's closer 'Is This Music?' Brendan thanks everyone, before planting a kiss on the security gaurd's head. Aww. The band then fluff the intro, causing Brendan to smirk 'Who was that? It was not me! I don't play on this!' which indeed he doesn't. But they carry on, and it does sound like an album finisher. The guitars still sound like bagpipes on this one (am I the only person who thinks it's reminiscent of Big Country's soundtrack to Restless Natives? Probably. Oh well.) So where to from here?

Well, this may be billed as Bandwagonesque, but of course fanclub have hardly rested on their laurels ever since. We get a greatest hits set from the subsequent albums, and you start to hope that maybe they might even do the same, er, concept for Grand Prix or Songs From Northern Britain. I wasn't blown away by Manmade when it first came out last year, but it's grown on me, and songs like It's All In My Mind really is a classic that rates up there with I Don't Want Control Of You and Verisimilitude. The band sound so tight as well. I saw them twice in Edinburgh last year, and at moments they were shambolic (part of the scottish indie rule-book at times, I think!) but tonight they are absolutely on fire. They finish the set with Mellow Doubt and Sparky's Dream (OK this is now a plea: please do a Grand Prix show).

That, of course, would be a pretty cool way to finish a show, but they come on with the aforementioned two-fifths of Bevis Frond to do an electric version (in both senses of He'd Be A Diamond) and with Brendan back on drums the final song of the night is Everything Flows. Sixteen years since it was released, it was of course Fanclub's first classic single, though as tonight shows, there have been many more since. Long may they continue. And may they never forget their superlative back catalogue.

Many thanks also due to my friend Jared, the biggest fanclub fan I know who accompanied me there and who also supplied the following setlist:


1. The Concept
2. Satan
3. December
4. What You Do To Me
5. I Don't Know
6. Star Sign
7. Metal Baby
8. Pet Rock
9. Sidewinder
10. Alcoholiday
11. Guiding Star
12. Is This Music?

Rest of the show...
Near You
It's All In My Mind
Don't Look Back
I Don't Want Control Of You
About You
I Need Direction
Start Again
Ain't That Enough
Your Love Is The Place That I Come From
Mellow Doubt
Sparky's Dream

He'd Be A Diamond
Everything Flows

Go and buy as much Teenage Fanclub as you possibly can

Friday, September 29, 2006

Read all about it! Read all about it!

Yup, or another The Sound of Young Scotland post! Flicking through a few other posts, it seems that the US bloggers are getting very excited about a the imminent release of Wolves by My Latest Novel. Rightly so, though the album has been out in the UK for some time. Whilst trying to provide reference points can seem pointless at times for so many bands, I would recommend that fans of Arab Strap, Aberfeldy, The Delgados, Sons and Daughters, Idlewild (particularly The Remote part-era Idlewild), and I think I hear a bit of Gorky's and Ooberman too. Whereever you live on the planet, this is an album you want to check out.

Don't miss the chance to see 'em live either; I first happened upon them supporting The much-missed Delgados in February 2005, and within the next six months also saw them supporting Aberfeldy and The Pixies, as well as their own headline show at Edinburgh's Cabaret Voltaire. They have also supported Low. May all this come together to help them to sell the hugs amounts of records they so clearly deserve too. This debut is rich and varied, and you can hear parts of the album both at *Sixeyes and The Merry Muses of Caledonia. Then, obviously, go and buy yourself a copy.

They are also on myspace too.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Not to be confused with Razorlight

Every so often, you hear about about a band that seem to be getting so much coverage, with so many blogs salivating over them that you wonder if there's someone hyping things or what (maybe we bloggers are guilty of this at times...)

However, when the band in question sound as good as Canada'sJunior Boys, then who is complaining? I hadn't heard this track until about half an hour ago - term is kicking in, and I'm having to do those things that I'm paid to do, like prepare lessons, mark, and y'know, teach. However, sometimes you need to do something else.

I know very little about them, but if there is any justice, next year they, CSS and 120 Days are going to be giving us what the electroclash movement should have.

Junior Boys -'In the Morning.' mp3

Junior Boys -'Birthday.' mp3

Buy Junior Boys on Amazon.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Do keep watching this space!

Sorry for the lack of posts - have been trying to link a couple of videos from You tube to here and for some reason, twenty four hours later they have not appeared. Hmm. Not Pleased.

I have, however, updated quite a few more blogs into the right hand column, as well as adding links to several more bands. I would suggest to anyone who has yet to hear The Fratellis album Costello Music that they do themselves a favour and hear it, preferably by buying it. personally I think it's better than the Arctic Monkeys album, though I realise this may be a capital punishment-worthy offence.

Oh, and Long Blondes fans should check this link out : )

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Aberfeldy a visual introduction

Apologies to anyone who thought the post was unattended. The computer was playing up last night when I tried to post. Anyway, due to difficulties with posting the pictures here are the two vids they have made so far.

Aberfeldy - Hypnotised


Buy Aberfeldy on Amazon

BTW here are the photos I struggled to post


and not fogetting the wonderful Dateless

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Gig review: Aberfeldy/Dateless

Aberfeldy/Catherine Feeney/Dateless

Edinburgh Liquid Rooms September 18, 2006

With venues disappearing to be turned into Executive flats, it's good to see that Edinburgh's Liquid Rooms remains very much open for business. It's especially good to see Aberfeldy headlining a packed Liquid Rooms, having seen them supporting the Fire Engines and Sons and Daughters here in December 2004.

But first, the evening starts off with Dateless. One fella and his keyboards, and two girls wearing matching blonde wigs and pink skirts, they take to the stage without much fanfare, but by the end of their opening number (something along the lines of 'I don't see as much of you as I'd like to') they are winning the crowd over. There are eight young girls dancing in front of the stage, and I can believe that they could fill places with girls inspired to copy not just their dancing, as they do tonight, but their clothes too. They sound similar to Client with the keyboards and the long-lost act that was Dubstar. You can dance, you can clap and you want to take their records home, if there were any to buy. Their six song set is a delight. I wanna know more (and please post some tracks on your myspace site!
After this, Catherine Feeney is kind of an odd choice to follow on. She's got a suitably ever-so-slightly husky voice, nice songs and enough stage presence to fill the place, which is no mean feat for anyone who has to play to a packed room with just an acoustic guitar in a full venue. And she plays that guitar well...but the songs don't linger. Yet.

As I say, I saw Aberfeldy supporting here less than two years ago. Now they are headlining a homecoming gig that's full, including many people who have rooted for them for years. As they open with 'A Friend Like You' it's clear from here on until the rest of the evening that they have grown so much. The songs just flow, and sound bigger than ever, without bombast. In all the times I've seen them, Riley Briggs has never lacked for confidence -and I wish I could pull off a safari suit like he does - but they just so have it now. Thye songs have always been there, but they are so tight you wonder if Pete Doherty's a former label-mate cos he knows he's gonna struggle to keep up.
Riley's stage patter suggests a sense of humour that must see them through the gigs when there aren't many there (12 at Brighton a few days earlier. So much it being the hippest city in Britain). He jokes about his guitar-shaped swimming pool in Leith (if you've never been to Edinburgh...well, just come here, go to Leith and you'll understand why it's funny). Hell, if the man would like one, we shouldn't deny him it (though being Scotland it's going to take some serious heating. We're hardy folk but not inuits). When so many folk come here and kinda forget where they are, it's reassuring to here someone who grew up here greeting a crowd.
The whole band are just on fire, frankly. Ruth darts about from keyboard to keyboard, and Sarah plays a mean violin that just puts most fiddlers to shame. I envy her former pupils. Ken beams behind his bass and drummer Murray seems like a perfect foil for brother Riley.
A couple of weeks ago I saw the video for latest single Hypnotised in the back of a taxi. Astute marketing from someone. The wolfboy video should be taking them to new heights. It's a real highlight live, as is 'Do Whatever Turns You on' which Riley dedicates to his family allowing him and his brother to feel free growing up. This apparently included using lego to create bands that would die in car crashes, according to Scotland on Sunday. I don't know if it's true, but it's a great story.
They finish their encore with Heliopolis by Night (my runner-up single of 2004, behind Take Me Out). As the crowd do the 'radio ga-ga' handclaps, it's clear this is a classic.
Two years down, two albums out, and Aberfeldy are hitting their stride. If you never saw them before, get out there!