Saturday, 21 July 2018

Turnbury Road Flat Gig

Last night I headed towards the West End of Glasgow for a flat gig in a beautiful flat on Turnbury Road.  As I walked down the quiet and leafy road just off Hyndland Road I could hear the sound of laughter coming out of the large bay windows of a 1st floor flat. I had found the location.

The flat gig had been organised spontaneously with only a couple of days notice by my sister to help a couple of Canadian friends who were over in the UK for a very DIY tour, playing in friends/fans homes or local pubs before finishing with sets at the Indietracks Festival.

Carla had managed to get them on to the Come Rain Or Shine event at Kelvingrove Bandstand, so this was an extra little show for them which they greatly appreciated.

The line-up for the flat show was; Carla J Easton w/ Paul Kelly, Tim the Mute, Eugene Kelly (The Vaselines) and Marlena Moore.

Carla opened the show, welcoming the 40 odd neighbours, fans and friends into the huge living room of her new flat (her boyfriends). She explained that the show was free, but there was a donation bucket for the artists and merch available, highlighting that Tim and Marlena were over from Canada and any small donation would help. With a BYOB policy, people were very generous and rightly so given the entertainment provided.

Just over  month ago my sister was diagnosed with viral meningitis; given a spinal tap, all manner of other tests and spending 4-days hooked up to a drip. It was a worrying time! Earlier in the day the doctor had given Carla the all clear and it was great to see her looking like her normal positive and energetic self again.

A short set of songs from her forthcoming debut album (well at least her debut under her own name) that she recorded in Canada last September was well received. Title track Impossible Stuff features playful piano melodies and a soaring chorus that can be sung after one listen, Dreamers On The Run was beautiful and the Girl From Before was all dreamy. Carla's friend and bandmate in TeenCanteen Sita was sitting on the floor and as Carla introduced Honey (TeenCanteen's debut single) she asked Sita if she could remember the harmonies. Sita being Sita was totally up for it but rather than get up she sang them from where she was, the keys and guitar were plugged in but vocals were unplugged, it made for a quite special surround sound performance.

All pictures courtesy of Scots Whay Have

Next up was Tim The Mute who captivated the room from the off with his humour, often self depreciating, always remarkably honest. Tim's melancholy songs with two or three chords touched on his depression, his fantasies and his life in general. I loved the line from one of his songs about lying in bed reading a book about lying in a bed reading books. There were some brilliant lines and Tim seems to be full of energy - organising this trip to the UK, all the shows and also running Kingfisher Blues Records. Think Daniel Johnstone writing with Evan Dando.

Tim ended his set by saying that he had attended a Vaselines show in Vancouver a number of years ago and Eugene had signed his LP, but has misheard his name as Jim. He had gone straight to the toilet and amended the J to a T. It was a lovely story, he couldn't believe he was now over in Glasgow playing a flat show with Eugene! The power of like-minded people meeting and bonding over social media in full effect.

Next up was special guest Eugene Kelly. To watch Eugene playing at such close quarters was an incredible privilege. High Tide Low Tide opened proceedings and we were treated to some songs from a future solo album that is in the works. One song, written from the perspective of a dog was equally clever and funny, also full of hooks with my favourite being you throw the ball, I'll fetch the ball and the brilliant line you're a dogs best friend.

The closing song was all about being last to be picked for sports at school and was also fall of Eugene's clever observational lyrics and hooks. Brilliant guitar pop.

Closing the show was Marlena Moore, cutting a striking presence as she sang in front of the huge bay windows with the sun setting. With her eyes closed Moore's voice soared as her bedroom diaries were told to an audience with grunge-y electric guitar. Moore captivated the crowd who urged her to play another couple of songs after her short set finished.

The sets completed, there as time for people to buy merch, make donations and stay and talk. It was a brilliant evening and based on the evidence of Sofar Sounds (see video below) and how popular house gigs are via Pledge Music, this is a gig format set to grow.

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Tell Me How You Really Feel

During 2015 (95), 2016 (95) and 2017(93) I wrote a total of 283 blog posts. The prolonged spell of good weather we have been experiencing in Glasgow has had a huge impact on my blog writing. In a determined effort to try and keep to circa 90 blog posts a year I'm going to write a string of micro-blogs on my favourite albums of 2018 to date.

I'll start with Tell Me How You Really Feel by Courtney Barnet.

Barnett's way with words, her storytelling, melodies, guitar sounds and jams with her band are captivating. All of this reminds me a little bit of Evan Dando and The Lemonheads, but Barnett is no copycat. She is very unique in her confidence, delivery and talent.

With a background in a couple of garage grunge bands, Barnett isn't afraid to turn her guitars up, but she can also produce gorgeous tender moments, the breakdown in City Looks Pretty being one example. Barnett and her band can also really get into a groove and make everything flow.

Vocal melodies sound like they are sometimes created off the cuff but always with ease and with a hook and their are some brilliant guitar riffs to go with them. Charity is one of my favourites from the album.

Barnett's 2015 debut album Sometimes I Sit And Think And Sometimes I Just Sit is outstanding. Her style and humour really shine through. I'm gutted I missed her at the Barrowland in June. Fear not, Courtney and her band are on the road non-stop and return to Glasgow on 20th November to play the Academy.

I promised a micro blog - so here it is. Check this brilliant artist out via all the usual sources.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

The rise and rise of Gerry Cinnamon

Pretty much everyone who was at TRNSMT on Saturday was at Gerry Cinnamon

The rise ..... and rise of Gerry Cinnamon fills me full of excitement, hope and wonder.

This guy isn't just ripping up the rulebook .... he isn't interested in it ... won't have read it ... won't care about it ... Gerry is doing things his way, playing by his own rules, keeping to his strong beliefs and it is working.

Gerry's rise was highlighted, underlined and set in bold at the TRNSMT festival that took place at the weekend. Cinnamon performed to the largest crowd of the weekend in glorious sunshine..... unsigned....with no marketing budget for his album.....virtually no airplay (come in Radio Scotland!!!!).... pause and consider that.

My spine tingled when Gerry approached the mic after prolonged applause to introduce his song Kampfire Vampire, viewing the crowd he said;

Look at this, look at it, it might never happen again, remember this day, best days of your life
This is a song for any young musicians kicking about, anybody on the circuit trying to start out
Don't feel the need to pull your pants down to anyone in the industry

The told me it wouldn't work

They told me I couldn't sing with a Scottish accent
They told me I couldn't record it myself
They told me I couldn't
Look what happened, know what I mean?
Do what you want man, see whats in there (points to heart), that's all that matters

The view from the sound desk for Gerry Cinnamon

Gerry then played his heart out, tearing through the song and firing out his lyrics dreams, bullsh*t scenes, rules were made to be broken

And oh how this young guy is breaking the rules; upsetting the old school, the cliques and the 'scene'. Cinnamon is making his own rules and with the help of his exceptionally passionate fanbase, he is creating a new scene.

It really is quite incredible. As a seasoned music fan I've never seen anything like it. In the 00's did see some bands like Artic Monkeys breaking through via MySpace, but they went on to get signed to a major label pretty quickly and get sucked into the machine. Of course they have gone on to become one of the biggest bands in the planet, but what hoops have they had to jump through along the way? 

And things have changed, MySpace has died and there are plenty of new ways to work as an artist or band that don't involve selling your soul. Cinnamon is proving that with the way he is working. Word of mouth is still the best form of promotion and with Social Media and online streaming, word of mouth is spreading like wildfire.

That word of mouth is coming from Cinnamon's incredible fans. Seriously, catch his TRNSMT 2018 performance on the iPlayer or read on to view his 2017 performance. Go on YouTube for fan footage or look on Twitter. Gerry Cinnamon is connecting with people in a way that I don't think I've ever seen before - certainly not from a Scottish artist. 

I don't doubt for a second that labels are not monitoring this situation. They will smell the possibility of money. Who is this young lad playing to virtually every punter at TRNSMT? Gerry and his tight team may well be fielding offers in the future, they may have done already. Does he need a label? Does he want one?

As a fan, I really don't think he does. He can record and release music to a dedicated (and growing) fanbase and play festivals and sold out shows across the country.

We'll get back to TRNSMT 2018 in a moment.

Gerry had performed last year. Hi social media posts from that time really indicate how important it was, fuelling his natural fire and taking hom on to the next level. You can watch his whole TRNSMT 2017 set that was filmed by the BBC below.

A lot has happened in the year that followed TRNSMT 2017. Gerry released his debut album. Yes that's right, the show and response above happened while Gerry had only released one single!  By the end of 2017  there were two sold out nights at the Barrowland Ballroom and scenes of Cinnamon-mania across Scotland.

The doubters who said people wouldn't get it outwith Glasgow were left looking dumb as Cinnamon strode into 2018 playing sold-out shows across Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Ireland. Shows were sold out, venues were upgraded and those shows were sold out as well. Someone in Lisburn even captured Gerry as a mural - insane.

You only need to listen to Cinnamon's debut Erratic Cinematic and watch him live to understand why the artist and his music are generating a buzz all over the place.

Gerry writes from the heart, from experience, with honesty, soul, humour and with no drama or effects. He lays himself and his songs bare across his debut album. A rich and soulful voice, packed and racked with emotion, an acoustic guitar, drum machine, mouth organ and loop pedal.

The way he tells his stories, shares his thoughts, regrets, dreams and memories is really clever and yet really simple. Cinnamon tells it like it is and he tells it from his heart. Cinnamon connects with people, he touches people.

Diamonds In The Mud is verse after verse of memory with real emotion attached to it and a clear love of Glasgow; Sometimes pokes fun at himself with the line I'm not the ideal person to be lecturing on life before going on to talk about things he has learned; What Have You Done is Cinnamon questioning himself and his life, being a messed up circle in a room of squares

Belter always bring a smile to my face, but then I totally feel it when Gerry sings about having been stung a few times so he doesn't let anyone in. He has that ability to make you smile, make you think and most importantly - to make you feel something, something you can relate to.

Lullaby mixes demons with a beautiful tender chorus; Fortune Favours The Bold has a 60's style shoo-dop intro that was captured perfectly by the TRNSMT audience with Gerry laying his beliefs out clear - can I buy back my soul when it's gone?

Keysies remains my personal favourite. Such a beautiful song that evokes such strong imagery and memories of my own childhood. All in 90-seconds! Gerry's voice is incredible on this one.

Cinnamon's songs are social, caring, funny, loving and in the case of album closer War TV - fiercely political. Is anyone else commenting on the world in song in such a frank way?

I'm no' scared of dying I'll fight any man
I might no' be the strongest but I'll do what I can
And I'm no' religious but if God's got a plan
Then I don't think it's bombing in a far away land

Cinnamon-mania is set to continue with tickets for 4 huge Glasgow shows going on sale tomorrow. 2-nights at the Barrowland Ballroom and 2-nights at the Academy. Might need to add the Hydro!

As Gerry comments in many of his online posts the bonny is burning.

Get involved. This is a talented and soulful young Scottish artist who is blazing a new trail. This is street poetry, this is punk, this is soul, this is DIY, this is special, this is Gerry Cinnamon.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Never Ending Mixtape Part 25

There are quite a lot of new songs (for a change) added to my Never Ending Mixtape this month.

I am really getting into Courtney Barnett who has a wonderful way of telling tales and making observations. Her raw guitar work and honest voice are hugely appealing and her songs are sprinkled with humour and soul. I'll be blogging on her soon.

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Parquet Courts, Snail Mail, Spiritualized, Hinds and GospelbeacH all have new songs out and featuring on the playlist. Snail Mail play Glasgow later in the year and their debut album is beautiful.

Elsewhere we have the three closing tracks from the Stone Roses eponymous debut, a stunning track from Brendan Benson, Car Seat Headrest, The Pastels, Flaming Lips, Mick Jagger and The Charlatans.

Search for Everything Flows Never Ending Mixtape on Spotify or CLICK HERE

Dig in and enjoy the wonderful weather.

Charity - Courtney Barnett
Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales - Car Seat Headrest
Berlin Got Blurry - Parquet Courts
San Francisco - Foxygen
French Press - Rolling Backouts Coastal Fever
Canned Tomatoes (Whole) - Courtney Barnett
Basement Scam - The Pastels
Memo From Turner - Mick Jagger
She Don't Use Jelly - The Flaming Lips
Shoot You Down - Stone Roses
This Is The One - Stone Roses
I Am The Resurrection - Stone Roses
Deee-Lite Theme - Deee-Lite
Harry Flowers - Jack Nitzsche
Metarie - Brendan Benson
Tellin' Stories - The Charlatans
Heat Wave - Snail Mail
Habit - Snail Mail
The Club - Hinds
I'm Your Man - Spiritualized
Now That I'm A River - Charles Watson
Dreamin' - GospelbeacH
Elevator Operator - Courtney Barnett

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Seltaeb, Nicky Byrne and The Beatles merchandise

Who or what is Seltaeb?

Can you imagine being Brian Epstein in the winter of 1963 as Beatlemania is really kicking in? They have released their debut LP Please, Please Me and are swiftly following it up just 7-months later in November with their second; With The Beatles.

There has been a string of singles, including the wild pop of She Loves You with the moptop shaking yeah yeah yeahs which has taken the boys to another level and in November 1963 they won a nations hearts with their slot at the Royal Variety Performance with Lennon pushing his cheekiness to the limit by asking will the people in the cheap seats clap your hands, if the rest of you just rattle your jewellery?

Epstein was in as much of demand as the Fab Four, his dreams were coming true and he would have been in his element. People across the world were smelling money - Epstein delegated merchandising to his solicitor David Jacobs.

Jacobs was tasked with prosecuting infringements (of which there were many) and also to issue new manufacturing licenses. He was pretty busy!

So Jacobs also looked to delegate and he chose a guy called Nicky Byrne - someone known on the London King Road party scene from running the Condor Club in Soho and through his wife Kiki's Chelsea boutique.

Byrne was initially reluctant due to the bad name Epstein was making for himself in the business world, but was then persuaded to take on rights for Europe and throughout the world - thus forming a company named Stramsact and then a subsidiary names Seltaeb (Beatles backwards) for American rights - with The Beatles due to fly to New York in February 1964 to play on the Ed Sullivan Show.

David Jacobs was left to draw up the contract and he unimaginably told Byrne to write the percentage he thought he should take on the deal.

Byrne wrote 90 percent!

To his amazement, Jacobs didn't even question it. He didn't think of it as 90% to Byrne, but as 10 percent to The Beatles!

It is estimated that this cost The Beatles somewhere in the region of £100,000,000. A lot of money now, a hell of a lot of money in 2018.

The Beatles went to Paris for a few shows in January. After the last show a telegram was sent through to Epstein. I Want To Hold Your Hand was number 1 on the American Billboard Top 100.

Things went crazy as Byrne and his five partners set up camp in one of New York's poshest hotels, renting limos and helicopters to ferry prospective clients in to meet them.

Wigs, bubblegum, clocks, sweets, cards, dolls ..... and of course - t-shirts were being made, printed and sold by the million.

Epstein was impressed when Byrne handed him a cheque for $9,700 and asked Byrne how much he was owed. Byrne replied 'nothing, that's your 10%'. Alarm bells must have been blaring in Epstein's head!

Where Byrne really came into his own was his little known part in creating Beatlemania when the band landed in New York.

For all Capitol and CBS cared, they were just going to walk off the plane and go to their hotel. Nobody would have even known they were in America.

Not quite true - The Ed Sullivan show at received 50,000 applications for 700 tickets and Capitol had allocated $50,000 for a 'crash publicity program' and printed five million car stickers proclaiming The Beatles Are Coming.

Byrne had his own reasons - the magical 90%!

Byrne enlisted the help of two NYC radio stations and they declared that there would be a free Beatles t-shirt for every kid who went out to the airport to meet and greet the band!

1,000 fans cheered The Beatles off from Heathrow. 5,000 welcomed them to America. Beatlemania crossed the ocean. And it wasn't just at JFK airport, fans chased The Beatles limo and lined the streets - imagine visiting America for the first time to this reception?! Check the footage below.

What happened to Byrne and his 90 percent?

Epstein managed to renegotiate back to 49% by August 1964 and then became embroiled in a 3-year court battle right up to his death in the summer of love of 1967 - ruled to have died from an accidental overdose. Jacobs was found hanged in his garage in December 1968. Byrne later retired to the Bahamas.

It's a film in the making!

There are lots of excellent books on The Beatles, but Philip Norman's Shout: The true history of The Beatles comes highly recommended. I have ready many but hadn't come across this amazing story before.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Everything Flows TV - Episode 2 - Teenage Fanclub

Welcome to Episode 2 of Everything Flows TV.

This episode is dedicated to my favourite band and features footage from the early 1990's through to present day.

Enjoy some wonderful performances which capture the talent, personality and joy that Teenage Fanclub brings to people across the world.

'Bandwagonesque, the best album of 1991, they come from Scotland, performing What You Do To Me, Teenage Fanclub' 

Teenage Fanclub, riding high after Spin Magazine voted Bandwagonesque the best album of 1991, beating the likes of Screamadelica, Loveless and Nevermind, romp through the melodic pop of What You Do To Me and then tear into Pet Rock with Norman pulling his hood up and rocking out on guitar with Raymond. I love Pet Rock in particular, there is a special energy in their performance!

Channel 4's The White Room, presented by Mark Radcliffe, was essential viewing in the 1990's. A kind of Britpop twist on Later With Jools with 100% less likelihood of Radcliffe joining in to jam with a band on 'the old Joanna'. 

This clip kind of encapsulates everything I love about Teenage Fanclub. Melodies, harmonies, incredible songwriting, a choice cover version, the band clearly having fun on stage and just generally displaying how brilliant they are with no fuss at all.

Live from the Reading Festival in 1992, Teenage Fanclub are flying. We have a relatively quick The Concept before a glorious 6-minute + version of Everything Flows with Brendan O'Hare in sensational form on drums and the band looking like they are having the time of their lives.

Live on Oddball TV in 1997, the band romp through the power pop perfection that is Take The Long Way Round

Live on the Conan O'Brien Show in 1993 with Escher

Live on Later With Jools performing Radio and their cover of Older Guys.

Snub TV - a short interview and Everything Flows

Live  Alcoholiday - always one to cherish when they play it live.

Live at T in the Park in 1996 with Neil Jung

Teenage Fanclub live at BBC Scotland HQ - I was fortunate to be in the audience just a few feet from the band.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

A Northern Soul

I recently revisited The Verve's A Northern Soul LP. What an album! The menacing A New Decade, the ferocious proclamation This Is Music, the fragile and beautiful History, personal favourite Drive You Home, the blissed out psych groove of Life's An Ocean and the staggeringly brilliant Stormy Clouds/Reprise to close. All absolutely amazing!

With A Northern Soul The Verve reached a rarely scaled peak when they became, in my eyes, a perfect band - the cool frontman, incredible guitarist and a tight groove based rhythm section reaching for the stars and the sun. They got there.

Prior to their second album The Verve had been releasing blissed out psychedelic groove based singles and EP's, also their debut LP A Storm In Heaven. The title really kind of matched the sound they were searching for.

But they really hit the groove with A Northern Soul. 9 of the 12 tracks are longer than 5-minutes in length, 4 stretch beyond the 6-minute mark. Allowing the band the space and time to reach magical places.

Their was ferocity in the shape of A New Decade and This Is Music. Both were declarations, the latter let rip with Ashcroft proclaiming I've been on the shelf for too long and then going on to ask how is the world gonna take me?

I remember watching the video on the sadly defunct chart show and it blew me away. This band were on it. In more ways than one.

The energy portrayed in their videos and captured on vinyl was amplified live when Ashcroft seemed to be like a man possessed. A Barrowland show in between A Northern Soul and Urban Hymns just as Bittersweet Symphony came out will live long in my memory.

Ashcroft highlights his progress as a songwriter with the beautifully flowing On Your Own before the epic ballad History, with the first use of strings that would go on to feature so prominently on the Urban Hymns album. It is a stunning song, Ashcroft is on fire, singing his heart out for a lost love. It's soulful and to the point.

I've gotta tell you my tale
Of how I've loved and how I've failed

Because it's you and me we're history
There ain't nothing left to say

The Verve's ability to jam and create special moments comes across throughout the album; Ashcroft pours his heart out; talking about his family, his vision of how he will die, love, life, death and the universe.

But they really hit their peak towards the end when the last 3-tracks; Life's An Ocean, Stormy Clouds and (Reprise) really evidencing the exceptional talent of all the musicians and Ashcroft as a singer, writer, improviser and performer. Stormy clouds, new horizons .... The Verve were prepared to ride storms to get to where they wanted to go, just listen to and marvel at the stunning (Reprise).

If you haven't listened to this album then strap yourself in. If you have, then I hope you enjoy revisiting it like I did recently. The Spotify link (to the remastered album with demos and b-sides from the era) and a couple of stunning live videos are below.

Imagine the future
Woke up with a scream
I was buying some feelings
From a vending machine

Saturday, 2 June 2018

The Pastels at the Mackintosh Church

Last night I got to catch The Pastels playing under a full moon ..... indoors!

The show was part of a series set in the stunning Mackintosh Church at Queens Cross in Glasgow where there is currently giant inflatable moon, measuring 7-metres in diameter, suspended above where people go to worship. The moon, featuring 120dpi detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface and it is the work of the artist Luke Jerram. It is pretty spectacular!

Emm ... better go downstairs to see the stage

Synergy Concerts have booked a string of shows while the moon is on and they have really caught the attention of the Glasgow gig going public.

Last night featured 3 artists and I made sure I was in the venue for shortly after opening, firstly to have a look at the moon before it got too busy, secondly to ensure I caught the set of opening act Andrew Wasylyk.

I discovered Andrew after browsing albums that have been nominated for the Scottish Album of the Year Award. His Themes For Buildings And Spaces album is a widescreen, dreamy, cinematic wonder and I hope it advances to the longlist. I think it could win.

Andrew came on stage with 7 friends and announced he was going to play the full 9-song album - result! The subsequent performance made me appreciate the album even further. The way the band gelled, the way the bass grooved, the way the horns enhanced the beautiful melodies being played on piano and glockenspiel .... it was a brilliant performance. Kind of David Axelrod at times.

I would encourage you all to check the album out. Andrew's ability to create beautiful soundscapes is very special.

Modern Studies were the second act on an excellent triple bill. With 2 backing singers they set out to create an expansive noise. While they managed that, it was only the second half of their set that I really got into. They have recently released their second album Welcome Strangers via Fire Records.

On to The Pastels. As they were setting up I got talking to the girl (lady) in front of me. It was an interesting conversation as she told me how she chose to attend Glasgow University because of her love of The Pastels and how she used to go into John Smith's Bookshop on Byres Road because Stephen worked there! As she was a couple of years older than me, The Pastels debut Up For A Bit with The Pastels arrived at the perfect time for her.

She wasn't the only one to come to church to worship The Pastels. The audience ranged from teenagers to (I imagine) people in their 60's. Their influence has been felt across the world and they are still mentioned in wonder by young guitar bands breaking through like The Orielles and the band offer so much support to these acts.

So much care goes into the creation of a Pastels song. They have impeccable taste and high standards. Songs from Slow Summits, their most recent album, made up most of the set The 6 piece line-up played superbly, the sound for all acts was impeccable, the natural acoustics of the church worked wonders.

It was an interesting experience to sit down and watch The Pastels. I found myself checking and appreciating the simplicity of some of the chord changes and how the band jammed and grooved on two/three chord riffs at times. The two members who alternated between keys/synths/flute and brass created wonderful melodies over the grooves.

Kicking Leaves was introduced as 'a West End song', Summer Rain is quintessential Pastels - both songs offer so much in terms of visualisation and feeling. 

Night Time Made Us was possibly my favourite song of the night. Everything came together and the way the band jammed at the end was all kinds of dreamy gorgeousness.

Check My Heart was a summer pop delight, Katrina's beats and rolls throughout the set were faultless and again, sitting down to watch The Pastels allowed me time to appreciate all members skills even more. 

Baby Honey caused two people to waltz down the aisle to dance at the front, the energy from the song is remarkable, the one chord riff/drone with lead guitar over the top creates a great groove.

It has been 5-years since the Slow Summits album and I hope The Pastels introduce us to some new music in the near future. And part of me wonders if the band would be tempted (like so many are these days) to play shows taking in classic albums/periods. I'm positive that would be extremely well received.

But that said - every period with The Pastels is classic. 

Friday, 1 June 2018

Dancing With Myself

Cover version of the month #36
The Donna's cover Billy Idol

Woops! I missed my cover of the month in May. So I'll write 2 covers based blogs in June ... I hope!

I recently read the magnificent Meet Me In The Bathroom by Lizzy Goodman - based on the New York City music scene from 2001-2011. It is a magnificent read, jam packed full of snapshot interviews and recollections with everyone who was (and is) anyone connected to the scene.

I found myself browsing Spotify as I was listening and I checked The Donna's a band who get a brief mention in the book. I checked their song Dancing With Myself and it immediately felt familiar but I couldn't place it. I thought I must have heard it at the time.... but it was so perfect, why had I not bought it?

Well it turns out it sounded familiar because it is a cover of Billy Idol song, one he released 3-times, first as Generation X, then as Gen X, before finally scoring a hit with a remixed version when he launched as a solo artist.

The Donna's stay true to the original on their version which was released via the film Mean Girls. It's a cracking song, flowing superbly and full of hooks that implant themselves in your head on first listen.

Idol produced some brilliant pop punk songs and this is one of them - more pop than punk. It's fun, cool and just a great song. Check all the versions mentioned below.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

T T T Technicolour Melodies

Sometime earlier this year I vowed to write shorter snapshot blogs on albums I enjoy. This hasn't happened! I still set out to write feature length blogs and end up with half written blogs sitting in my drafts box for months on end - many stay there!

And this one has been unfinished for a couple of months - I originally intended to finish and publish it back in April. With Super 8 planning the follow up in the summer, I thought I'd better get this one out there!

Read on for a review and interview.

T-T-T-Technicolour Melodies by Super 8 is an album I stumbled across earlier this year. The modern art/psychedelic cover art was captivating in its own way, but delving into the album brought great reward. It's homemade, warm, melodic and lovely and all the work of one person - who goes under the guise of Trip.

The home recorded album is full of warmth, from the opening Tomorrow's Just Another Day through to closer My Sweet Baby Jane. There are all kinds of instruments, loads of melodies, unexpected breaks and a lot of love.

Opener Tomorrow's Just Another Day has one of the unexpected breaks mentioned above and also a stunning little add on at the end, just when you think the song is about to finish it takes a glorious turn.

I need you in my life
Yeah I need you in my life
You in my life to make it alright

Catsuit is a favourite of mine. It reminds me of The Lemonheads/Evan Dando in the way it is written and flows so naturally.

Renting a lighthouse for you
Taking a right hook for you
Sticking my neck out for you
Saving my last smoke for you

Even at only 2 minutes 23 seconds, there is still time for Trip to add on a little refrain, he has an uncanny knack for being able to find an extra little melody and hook.

Last Final Cigarette and To Morocco are two more brilliant examples of how naturally talented Trip is. Acoustic guitars, melodies, stories, thoughts and dreams pour out of him.

The title track has a bit of the Beta Band to it. Homemade groove based psychedelic pop. Then we have the simply gorgeous Just A Serenade. This is a gem. Trip's voice is raw and pure as he pours his heart out.

S.K.Y (Stop Killing Yourself) was a title that immediately grabbed my attention and a dreamy intro leads to a gorgeous song and I love the line pick yourself up off the ceiling

You can stream and buy the album below from the Super 8 bandcamp page. Read on for an interview with Trip - the man behind Super 8.

1. Who are Super 8? Ha! Ha! Who indeed? Just Me, Myself and I!

2. What have you released to date? Just the one album … so far! I’m currently busy working on the next one.

3. How did you find the label you have released your latest album on? I didn’t - they found me as it turned out! They heard my cover of Serious Drugs and got in touch. When they heard my own original songs, they wanted to get involved.*

4. Do you have any plans for the album or touring? No real master plan as such. I guess I’d just like as many folk as possible to hear this music I make. Of course, I realise that touring helps to promote music but I recorded this entire album at home on my own. It would be pretty hard to try & recreate it in a ‘one-man-band’ style I’d imagine. That said, I’m not completely ruling the idea out, I’m just saying it would be difficult! I’d need to keep an eye out for one of those bass drums you strap to your back for starters plus I’d need some cymbals, a cello and a trumpet that I could somehow operate with my feet whilst simultaneously strumming guitar blowing on a harmonica. That should do it!  

5. What influenced the album? Well, I’d been playing stripped-back acoustic versions of my songs at open mic nights through in Edinburgh but, whilst playing them acoustically, I was hearing them in a more ‘symphonic’ way inside my head & needed to find a way of recording these definitive versions. After a few botched attempts in so-called professional studios, I finally realised that the way to do these songs justice was to go into self-imposed exile, batten down the hatches & just record everything myself at home … using a battered old portastudio. After much blood, sweat and tears, the finished result you hear on “T-T-T-Technicolour Melodies!” is the closest I’ve been able to get to how this particular batch of songs plays inside my head.

6. How do you write? Does it vary from song to song?  I tend to start off with my old faithful acoustic guitar. It could be a chord progression or a riff then, off the back of that, I’ll hope that what I’m doing reveals some kind of vocal melody that I’ll jam over the top with. If it does I’ll press record then, on playback, try to find any seeds of an idea that I can begin to work up into a finished, realised song.    

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Never Ending Mixtape Part 24

My Never Ending Mixtape now has over 600 songs! Welcome to the 24th installment.

Welcome to the latest additions where we kick off with a euphoric house/trance remix of Moby, I discover songs from Pan Amsterdam, King Khan and the Shrines, a new one by Eleanor Friedberger and dig into Norman Blake's extra curricular activities from Teenage Fanclub with some beautiful tunes from Jonny and a great song with Jad Fair.

Elsewhere we have two psychedelic classics from The Beatles, Stuart David's post Belle and Sebastian outfit Looper with the glorious Mondo 77, there is plenty of soul including the euphoric Higher and Higher, a brilliant pop single from Shocking Blue and glorious 90's indie from Madder Rose. Oh and what about Prince with Nothing Compares To You!? Not to mention Wichita Lineman!

Search for Everything Flows Never Ending Mixtape on Spotify and dig in to some of my favourite songs and tunes and artists I discover as I go. Or CLICK HERE.

I hope you find something you haven't heard before that you love.

This Wild Darkness (CYA remix) - Moby
The Lotion Song - Pan Amsterdam
Nothing Compares To You - Prince
Mondo 77 - Looper
I Want To Be Around You - Jonny
Never Alone - Jonny
Add Your Name - Jad Fair and Norman Blake
Is It Like Today - World Party
Welfare Bread - King Khan and the Shrines
Make Me A Song - Eleanor Friedberger
Time Is Tight - Booker T and the M.G's
I Am The Walrus - The Beatles
Respect Yourself - The Staple Singers
Israelites - Desmond Dekker and the Aces
The Clapping Song - Shirley Ellis
My World Is Empty Without You - The Supremes
A Horse with No Name - America
Mellow Yellow - Donovan
Venus - Shocking Blue
Tumbling Dice - The Rolling Stones
Band On The Run - Paul McCartney
(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher - Jackie Wilson
Wichita Lineman - Gen Campbell
Ain't Got No Life - Nina Simone
Love's Theme - The Love Unlimited Orchestra
Stronger Than Her Love - The Flirtations
Swim - Madder Rose
What Holly Sees - Madder Rose
When Your Smile - Madder Rose
For What It's Worth - Buffalo Springfield
A Day In The Life - The Beatles

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Getting Away With It

Getting Away With It by Electronic is one of my all-time favourite songs. It is majestic pop courtesy courtesy of Bernard Sumner (New Order), Johnny Marr (The Smith) and Neil Tenant (Pet Shop Boys) coming together to create something quite perfect.

Sumner and Marr co-wrote the music, with Sumner and Tenant co-writing the lyrics and the opening line is a beauty, coming shortly after the catchy stabbing piano chords and dreamy strings.

I've been walking in the rain just to get wet on purpose

Bernard Sumner delivers potentially his best vocal performance. And he doesn't hang about in getting to the hook and chorus, his voice beautifully entwining with Neil Tenant's.

I've been getting away with it all my life (getting away)
However I look it's clear to see that I love you more than you love me
However I look it's clear to see that I love you more than you love me

The second verse follows instantly, Sumner pouring his heart out in a lyric Marr's other songwriting partner would have been proud of, but Sumner's performance and delivery is a million miles away from that of Morrissey.

I hate that mirror it makes me feel so worthless
I'm an original sinner but when I'm with you I couldn't care less

The song is brilliantly written (musically and lyrically), structured, performed and produced. I love singing it, I love dancing to it and I love listening to it.

I thought I gave up falling in love a long, long time ago
I guess I like it but I can't tell you, you shouldn't really know

I've been talking to myself just to suggest that I'm selfish
I've been trying to suggest that more is less and I'm repressed

It was the Electronic's debut single - I struggle to think of a better one, although the trio admittedly had quite a background! Here they are performing the song on Top of the Pops.

Greg Wilson, my favourite DJ also loves and appreciate this song - so much that he edited and 11-minute 30 second version of it!

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Everything Flows TV - episode 1

I love YouTube. I come from an era where I recorded music videos and performances from The Word, Top of the Pops, the White Room, Later with Jools and BBC coverage of festivals like Glastonbury and T in the Park on to VHS cassettes!

And there was a market for this. Some enterprising individuals would mass produce their homemade bootlegs and sell them at record fairs. So I forked out £15/£20 for everything I could find on the Stone Roses, Oasis and The Charlatans!

Of course nowadays any TV show a band has ever done is online, as is their promo videos, interviews, official live footage and plenty of bootleg footage - some good, others shoddy.

I love when people I follow online post good stuff to watch, so I thought I would introduce what will hopefully become a regular feature - Everything Flows TV.

Episode 1 features brilliant stuff from The Beastie Boys, Nirvana, AC/DC and Jimi Hendrix.

The Beastie Boys fly through Sabotage live on the Letterman show. Check the ferocious energy and fun they are having. Superb!

The Word, broadcast late on a Friday night on Channel 4, was essential trash TV for a young teenager. There was some truly awful stuff broadcast, but some incredible live performances. Check Kurt's intro to Smells Like Teen Spirit, Captain America (to become Eugenius) t-shirt and the brilliant performance - Nirvana were such a tight live band but they could just go crazy - and they on TV.

There used to be so much music on TV. This was extremely memorable! Nirvana were booked to play their current single Lithium on Jonathan Ross' show and were introduced to that effect. Broadcast live, they decided to tear through Territorial Pissings instead! They blitz through it with exceptional punk rock energy and intensity, leaving Jonathan Ross a little shocked but he makes the most of it with a little joke.

Speaking of energy - a few people recently posted this brilliant video of AC/DC performing It's A Long Way To The Top If You Wanna Rock n Roll. Rocking out in the street (complete with bagpipes!) the band look like they are having the time of their lives - something that they always transferred to their fans.

In 1967 it must have seemed like anything could happen - and it often did. 2-days after the release of The Beatles seminal Sgt Pepper's, Jimi Hendrix and the Experience opened with it .... in front of The Beatles (Paul and George).

It would be one of his first gigs in London. Jimi was a sweetie, a very nice guy. I remember him opening at the Saville on a Sunday night, 4 June 1967. Brian Epstein used to rent it when it was usually dark on the Sunday. Jimi opened, the curtains flew back and he came walking forward, playing 'Sgt. Pepper', and it had only been released on the Thursday so that was like the ultimate compliment. It's still obviously a shining memory for me, because I admired him so much anyway, he was so accomplished. To think that that album had meant so much to him as to actually do it by the Sunday night, three days after the release. He must have been so into it, because normally it might take a day for rehearsal and then you might wonder whether you'd put it in, but he just opened with it. It's a pretty major compliment in anyone's book. I put that down as one of the great honours of my career. I mean, I'm sure he wouldn't have thought of it as an honour, I'm sure he thought it was the other way round, but to me that was like a great boost. - Paul McCartney, Many Years From Now

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

SAY Award 2018 launch

The Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award launched this week as labels, bands, bloggers, journalists, fans, record shops and venues were encouraged to nominate Scottish albums released between 1st April 2017 and 31st March 2018. Full criteria for nominees can be found HERE

The list of nominees is building steadily and submissions are open until 31st May. The (always) lengthy list is then whittled down to a longlist of 20 and then that subsequently becomes  shortlist of 10, one of which comes from a public vote.

I love the SAY Award which really shines a light on the diversity and quality of music our small country regularly produces. I love browsing the nominees and trying to predict who might make the longlist, who will go on to the shortlist and who is in with a shout of winning.

Nominations have only just opened and there are some big hitters - Franz Ferdinand are the largest band on there buoyed by a new line-up including blog fave Miaoux Miaoux; Mogwai's remarkably consistent output of albums ensures they are in the running (have they been in the nominees every year?); then we have Roddy Woomble, previous winners Young Fathers,  Karine Polwart is another artist that is prolific and on the rise, as is Blue Rose Code and we have veterans Hue and Cry.

Conflats by Out Lines, the collaboration between Kathryn Joseph and James Graham from Twilight Sad won many friends upon release, although I have to be honest and say that I just couldn't get into it. I do expect it to fair well though.

It's good to see Ryan Joseph Burns (formerly of blog faves Seventeenth Century) on with his album Absence that I really need to check out. The SAY Award is a good reminder - I still need to check out Any Joy by Pronto Mama and Body Prt Fly Invisible Hero - great title and I'm listening to the opening track as I type.

I recently blogged about the Broken Records album and really hope that progresses to the longlist.
And then I've been digging in and have been enjoying The Great Albatross album Asleep in the Kaatskills which has a great feel to it and brilliant playing. It's kind of country, rock n roll and euphoric indie in the vein of Arcade Fire at times.

Themes for Buildings and Spaces by Andrew Wasylyk is really beautiful and I'd mark that as an early contender for the shortlist and a potential winner. It's very different and it stands out. The vivid song titles like Under High Blue Skies and Come the Autumn are matched by cinematic, dreamy, melancholic instrumentals. I really enjoyed listening to it and will definitely revisit.

Solan Goose by Erland Cooper is an album I checked out after hearing a track on Radio Scotland. A real headphone album, it is another beautifully dreamy album that you can get lost in. Definitely in with a shout of progressing to the next stage and beyond.

Kiss and Tell by Babe is another album I've enjoyed on first listen. A Jimmy Somerville-esque falsetto soars over electronic bleeps, beats and grooves. While No Lusicous Life by Golden Teacher is far out super cool grooves and electronica. It sounds extremely different from anything else I've checked out so far and stands out.

Starin' At The Freaks by December 91 is a title that grabbed me. They sound like they are in their own little world which is something I always like in a band.

 Friends with good taste have encouraged me to keep listening to Post Era by Lylo as the rewards grow with every one.

Speaking of titles, my sister emailed me to say she had nominated an album she discovered via Bandcamp called You Could Not Have Given The Slightest Of F**ks by Jonny Shitbag and the Smokes! It had been released on a tiny Paris based cassette label. It is brilliantly raw punk pop.

I blogged about Siobhan Wilson's album There Are No Saints and it is a real gem, her voice is stunning. I really expect it to progress.

Many indie artists have had a very productive year or so; Spinning Coin with Permo and Martha Ffion with Sunday Best to name but two.

And Last Night From Glasgow has a strong chance of matching (and hopefully beating) last years progression to the longlist with a range of brilliant albums that highlight the superbly eclectic range of music being released - the homemade psychedelic pop from Stephen Solo; the stunning voice, playing, songwriting and feel from Sister John; a mix of electronica, grooves and swagger from Medicine Men, electronic goodness from Sun Rose and young Annie Booth delivering an album that highlights her talent at present and potential for the future on a joint release with Scottish Fiction.

The list of nominations is still growing and I have loads of albums to check out. I hope you enjoy discovering the brilliant music that Scotland produced from April 2017 to the end of March 2018.

Keep up to date with the nominees and listen to them via 

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

What We Might Know

From the urgency of the opening chords of They Won't Ever Leave Us Alone through to the bubbling synths that usher in the closing title track What We Might Know, Broken Records deliver big time with the release of their 4th album. 11-songs of heartbreak, parenthood, hope, looking to the future and reflecting on the past, all wrapped in glorious soulful Springsteen heart on the sleeve style.

Broken Records have been on the go for 10-years and this is their 4th album, their first since 2014. Quite a lot has changed during that time and the band have adapted from MySpace to present day, with two releases on the legendary 4AD Records and tours across Europe and USA in between. And that is just the changes in what it means to be in a band - never mind their personal lives which (sounds like) has inspired many of the songs.

Of course what it really means to be in a band, one thing that should never change, is the opportunity to hang with friends, express yourself and to have fun. And that really comes across throughout this spellbinding album. It is refreshingly open, honest, soulful and pure. It sounds like an album Broken Records had to make, if only for themselves.

Back to the opener; They Won't Ever Leave Us Alone is whirlwind of a song, blowing a fresh breeze into your heart to make you sit up with a jolt. The band fly through the song in a euphoric heartfelt way that almost leaves you gasping for breath.

Summer warmth, fading light
As I drive you home at night
Focus on the smallest things
And write them into my heart

If the opening track sets the bar, Let The Right One In accepts the challenge and pushes it higher. The band are on blistering form throughout the album, brilliantly tight but loose and with singer Jamie Sutherland singing his heart out. Producer Stephen Watkins has captured a band in peak condition.

Melodies usher in Open Ground with Sutherland's rich voice offered more space as the pace of the album drops ever so slightly, yet the urgency remains.

Sutherland spits out his vocals during The Inbetween, a man in a hurry to talk about his dreams and memories, the song builds gloriously, the band gel superbly and with ease.

Don't let these dreams carry me away

Anytime is an acoustic beauty, a fragile melodic riff takes us to some place different, Sutherland's voice displays a different kind of richness - one of warmth and concern. The chorus flows and then things drop to a bare minimum before rising again - beautiful.

I mentioned Springsteen earlier on and Broken Records have that whole widescreen soul thing going on throughout the album. The songs flow superbly and Perfect Hollow Love is outstanding.

I know it should be simple
Cause you're the only thing that's ever been clear

Don't turn your back on me
I'm not dying I can fix this yet
Don't turn your back on me
I'm still here I can pay my debt

You can sense how massive When All Of This Is Done is likely to become from the slow brooding intro. Trust your senses. The song builds beautifully, yet where other songs go full throttle the band keep this under control in style and Sutherland's voice is brilliant.

So Free is a slow burning gem before the pace picks up again for Clarity. Broken Records have certainly offered crystal clear clarity on their ability, vision and ambition with this release. At the time of writing I notice that it has already deservedly been nominated for the SAY Award. I really hope it makes the initial longlist and then who knows?

The penultimate Someday You'll Remember Me has another stunning intro where guitar, bass, drums and synth strings combine before Sutherland comes in. There is a little bit of Joy Division-esque bass, a real groove that allows everyone else to work their magic over the top.

And so we end with the title track, the magnificent What We Might Know. Sutherland's rich voice soars over bubbling synths before other instruments lift the song further and a beautifully life affirming way.

Broken Records have been playing a number of live dates to promote the album and have 3 coming up in the next few weeks. You can stream and order their album from BANDCAMP

10/05 - The Borderline, London
12/05 - Night People, Manchester
18/05 - Stereo, Glasgow