Friday 28 October 2011

Five for Friday 28/10/11

Here are 5 tunes to kick start your weekend.

We start with the slick, soulful and funky disco of 'Le Freak' by Chic

We the glide into Patti Jo's gorgeous 'Make Me Believe In You', the lyrics are just pure 'heart on sleeve' stuff.

We then storm into Martha Reeves & The Vandella's with the classic 'Nowhere To Run'. Martha will be playing Celtic Connections in Glasgow in January 2012.

Keeping up the pace we fly into Spanky Wilson with 'You', written by a certain Stevie Wonder.

This week ends in serious style courtesy of The Stones and this outrageous take on 'Sympathy For The Devil' from the memorial concert for Brian Jones in 1969.

Tuesday 25 October 2011

John Peel

Today is the anniversary of the death of John Peel, the legendary Radio 1 DJ, a man of the people, a man for the people.

Peel was a voice and an outlet for independent music of all kinds. He embraced bands that went on to be huge; Nirvana (with tracks from their sessions going on to be on Incesticide) and the White Stripes (for example) and he also loved more obscure bands like The Fall and it was through Peel that I got into The Misunderstood. They left their guitars feeding back during a Peel session and went outside for a smoke, picking up their guitars on return!

The Smiths and New Order are two other bands that benefitted from Peel's backing throughout their careers. Looking back through a list of Peel's Festive Fifty listings just makes me want to spend the weekend listening to music. Peel was the first DJ to play Joy Division, Bernard Sumner delivers a heartfelt thanks below.

As a kid I would listen to Peel's show semi-regularly. At times I would turn off, I didn't get some of the music he played. At other times I listened intently for sessions by PJ Harvey or enjoyed some obscure Jamacian dub record.

Peel Sessions were released on a tiny DIY label called Strange Fruit and I have many of them in my record collection. My favourite would be (not surprisingly) the Teenage Fanclub Peel Session. The guitar sounds are better than ever on 'God Knows It's True' and there is a fantastic version of 'Alcoholiday' (see below)

Peel gave independent Scottish music a national platform, one that has deteriorated rapidly since his death. Ally McCrae's weekly show is currently under threat and anyone that tunes into Radio 1 will realise who far downhill in terms of music. Peel could get something on to the A-list. Correct me if I am wrong but I think he was instrumental in Cornershop's 'Brimful of Asha' going to Radio 1's prime daytime playlist.

Ballboy, TFC, The Delgadoes, Mogwai, Arab Strap and Belle and Sebastian are a handful of bands that can thank Peel for a leg up in their careers. Check out some banter with John from his Christmas special with Belle and Sebastian below.

I also miss Peel on the Glastonbury coverage, somehow Fearne and Reggie don't seem to 'get it' in the way that Peel undoubtedly did. The Beeb used to cut to footage of Peel dancing in an obscure field to an obscure band with a smile on his face.

R.I.P John Peel

This was his favourite track, pure punk pop by The Undertones. 

Sunday 23 October 2011

Sonny Marvello - Live at Rowardennan Youth Hostel, Loch Lomond

Well....I have just about recovered from an amazing night on the banks of Loch Lomond courtesy of Sonny Marvello.

When the band and I were planning the promotion around the release of their Tiny Little Sparks EP 
we talked about a Glasgow gig, but we couldn't decide what to do. The band have already played Tut's twice this year (headlining once) and last year they played Stereo twice. 

We wanted to do something different, so we decided to get out of Glasgow and we found Rowardennan Youth Hostel on the banks of Loch Lomond. It has 75 beds, a nice big room for a party (usually weddings) and no curfew!

Craig and I went up to recce the venue and we met Aaron, the lovely Aussie manager. He was up for it and trusted us. The party was on.

The ticket price was kept as cheap as possible - £40 for a buffet dinner, bed and breakfast - plus entertainment from Sonny Marvello, Little Eskimos, Model Jet Pilot and Ryan Davidson (magician). Not to mention a DJ set from me.

15 beds were allocated to the band, performers and guests, ending up being 17. We then sold out of the remaining beds - admittedly the last 2 were sold on the day of the gig.

The sun was shining as I packed the car and headed into town to pick up Kevin Harper, AKA Little Eskimos. Kev's knowledge of music, film and television ensured lively and entertaining discussion en route to the venue.

We arrived and cracked a beer and welcomed people arriving. The band and sound engineer were already there and set up was almost done.

Most people arrived by 5pm and there was time for a little introduction and a boring health and safety briefing before some music and drinks and then dinner.

Ryan Davidson was up first in terms of entertainment. His 35 minute magic set was genuinely impressive, shocking many, particularly as Ryan made out as if he had ruined tricks only to bring them back before our very eyes.

Next up was Model Jet Pilot, the guise of Ross Hamilton. Ross played 4-songs, enough to highlight his soaring falsetto and ear for guitar pop.

Little Eskimos were up next, playing a great 40 minute set, ending with a roaring cover of Bowie's '5-years'. Kev's songs of heartbreak and dreams went down well with the crowd. 'Get Yourself Together Kid' was a particular favourite of mine. 

On to the headliners. Sonny had brought in a smoke machine and laser lights for the show and it set the mood nicely. The band have since said it has been their best gig to date and I can't argue. Stage ready after tour dates in Stirling, Perth, Inverness and Skye, the band ripped through old faves, new songs off the album they are currently recording (with 'Automatic' sounding like a future single) and then blasting through some covers especially prepared for the night. 'Maps' by Yeah Yeah Yeah's was sensational.

'Tiny Little Sparks' was epic and after the band played 'Made of Magic' the crowd kept singing the 'M A G I C, what you're made of, is magic', refrain. It was a special moment and the band looked genuinely amazed.

After the set it was drinking and dancing until the small hours....or breakfast for some.

This was a great night, I hope we can do it again next year.

Friday 21 October 2011

Five for Friday, 21st October 2011

This week's Five for Friday digs deep into my CD and record collection for some tunes I haven't played in ages.

We start with Looper, fronted by Stuart David the former bassist of Belle and Sebastian. The song was used in the Vanilla Sky movie which has a tremendous soundtrack.

We then head Stateside for the sublime 'Such Great Heights' by The Postal Service, released on that lovely label that is Sub Pop.

Staying with Sub Pop we have the gorgeous harmonies of Beach House and 'Take Care' from their lovely album 'Teen Dream'. I still kick myself for not going to see them at Oran Mor.

Going back a little further and sticking with the Sub Pop vibe, we have one of my favourite tunes. It has been a while since I listened to it. It's one of those tunes I like so much that I have it on CD and vinyl. I remember buying it from the old Missing Records on Oswald Street back in the early 90's. The chiming guitar hooked me from the off and Lou Barlow's lyrics and voice just hooked me further. 'I think our love is coming to an end, I know our love is coming to an end'. Heartbreaking and life affirming at the same time. 'Saying goodbye, was so much fun.'

We go off on a slight tangent with the last tune, originally released on legendary Scottish label 53rd & 3rd, but I didn't get my hands on that EP, although a certain young Kurt Cobain in Seattle somehow did. However later on Sub Pop released the compilation 'The Way Of The Vaselines', another CD I bought from Missing Records. The innocence on this, the sheer sense of fun and the catchiness just brings a smile to my face every time.


'The sun shines in my bedroom, when you play,
and the rain it always starts, when you go away.'

Look out for the ferocious Nirvana cover version on Incesticide.

Monday 17 October 2011

Stone Roses to reform? Would it all be rosey?

The rumours that the Stone Roses are reforming will be confirmed at a press conference tomorrow. The news excites me, it also frightens me.

Why? Why would the reformation of my favourite band frighten me? Well there are a number of reasons that make me wonder if all would be rosey in the Stone Roses garden if it happened.

There are also a number of reasons that leave my spine tingling.....lets look at both sides of the coin.

The bad

1. Ian Brown's singing
There is no denying it. Ian Brown's voice (never particularly strong and certainly helped by the backing vocals of Reni in the Roses) has gone backwards. Probably shot by years of heavy dope smoking. 

Now I have seen and heard Ian Brown sing fantastically well, notably when he toured with the Complete Stone Roses as his backing band and played a string of Roses classics.

However I have also cringed at his vocals at times. Last year at Rock Ness I walked away from his set. His voice was truly awful. I was a little heart broken.

Brown also seems to try to compensate for this by continually asking the sound engineer to turn his mic up to the extent that it booms over everything else and distorts. 

I can only hope that Brown has been taking singing lessons.

2. Are they only doing it for the money?
The Roses were shafted by Silvertone so they have never made the money they deserve for their debut album. However they got a fortune from Geffen for the Second Coming. There are still stories of Ian Brown walking round Manchester handing cash to the homeless.

Brown used to say they would only reform for charity. Brown's solo career has taken a dive, there is no denying that. The size of his concert venues have also dropped, understandably when his material isn't up to much, nor is his vocal performance.

Mani would do it at the drop of a hat, he would probably pay to do it.

Squire is making a living from his art, an alright one at that I would imagine considering his work is going for £5k plus for an original.

Reni has been very quiet since the Roses parted company with him. Although I did catch him at King Tuts fronting his band The Rub. They soon disappeared with Reni. I can't imagine Reni is particularly fond of Squire, but time is a healer and all that.

I don't think the Roses are only doing it for the money, they had and have too much soul and style for all that. They do have unfinished business though.

Could they do a tour and still all be friends though? There has been no love lost over the years between Squire and Brown.

3. Squire's art

Squire's artwork produced in March 2009 doesn't exactly say that he would never reform the Roses. It does however make his intentions clear - lets hope that if the Roses do reform that Squire doesn't let it end like it did at Reading in 1996 with fans walking away in tears as the group crumbled before them.

4. New material
Squire's post Roses output is pretty shit, lets be honest. That never stopped me going to see him live with The Seahorses or solo. But that was largely because I hoped to hear Roses tunes. There was one special secret show he played at Tuts when he came on looking cool as fuck and played the outro to resurrection before going into She Bangs The Drums and Waterfall. A special moment.

Brown has had his moments, notably with F.E.A.R and Be There (with Unkle). Moments worthy of the Roses. 

Have they got anything special left in their lockers? I fear it would be a major letdown and if they are going to play then just play the old stuff.

The good

1. The songs
I would love to hear guitar pop nuggets like Mersey Paradise, Sally Cinnamon and She Bangs The Drums blasting out, I'd love to see Reni and Mani locked in the groove of Fools Gold, One Love and Adored. I'd love to hear Squire's guitar chiming Ten Storey Love Song and see Brown shimmy to I Am The Resurrection.

2. Inspiration
The Roses had the look, the attitude, the songs, the patter, the clothes.... a truly special and and they were responsible for guitar pop bands starting up all over the UK. 

We could do with some of that now. Turn on the TV and the news is depressing, the country and the world seems pretty fucked. The Roses coming back would put smiles on faces.

And you can bet they would have a few words to say about things.

3. To leave in a good way.
Reni leaving (being sacked), Squire's mountain bike accident causing them to cancel their Glastonbury headline appearance (having their thunder stolen by Pulp), Squire quitting and Mani and Brown playing on without him......the drugs.

It ended in a mess. Could you grudge such a great band the chance to get back together again and sign off in a blaze of glory and make a lot of people happy?

When you love someone you can fear that they could hurt you, cut you deep. You also know that they could make you feel incredible.

I'll attempt to buy a ticket (possibly several if there is a tour) if they announce some shows.

I just hope they don't cut me deep.

Friday 14 October 2011

Five for Friday, 14th October 2011

5 tunes I may or may not play when I am drunk this weekend and in charge of decks at Sonny Marvello's Loch Lomond bash.

They tend to get the party started or keep it going......honestly.

Anyone who doesn't dance to this isn't worth having at your party. Little Michael's vocals soar.

One from my youth, glorious riff, so upbeat, always makes me smile.....and....... JUMP, MIGHT AS WELL JUMP!

Daft Punk don't remix or edit any old tune. They don't do too much to this magnificent guitar pop offering from Franz Ferdinand, a few nips and tucks here and there....

Guitar punk pop at its best.

And one to raise the roof. Everyone seems to know this....even if they don't.

Thursday 13 October 2011

The Moth & the Mirror - Honestly, This World

Being a music fan in Glasgow means that you can discover bands in a variety of manners. I found out about The Moth & the Mirror (TM&TM) through speaking to a lovely guy called Kev who worked in Grassroots in Woodlands Road. We chatted regularly and I told him I was going to the Connect Music Festival that Sunday, primarily to see Sigur Ros.

'Oh you should come and see my band, The Moth & The Mirror.'

It turns out that Kev plays bass with them. He is a nice guy, so I went along to check them out and I really liked what I saw and heard. I caught them a couple of times over the next year or so and then it all seemed to go quiet. I know from speaking to Kev that they were recording, a certain Louis Abbot went on to have great success with his 'other band' Admiral Fallow and Gordon Skeene was recruited by Frightened it has taken some time to get around to releasing this abum.

The Moth and The Mirror certainly do nothing to dispel any myths about the Scottish music scene being rather incestious!

In truth it is simply the fact that Glasgow is a small place and like minded people tend to get to know each other and help each other out. We are a friendly bunch.

So on to the album, out now on Olive Grove Records.

Opener 'Everyone I Know' starts with the rhythm section locked into a groove and develops into a rather epic song with singer Stacey Sievwright declaring 'I don't have the heart for this.' As openers go, this is a clear declaration of intent, a band wanting to prove their talents.

'Soft Insides' slows things down. A picked guitar riff is joined by glockenspiel and Stacey's vocal talents get the chance to shine. 'You build a wall so you can hide...'

'Fire' sounds familiar, so I'm guessing I must have heard it live. Either that or its upbeat nature just attracts me immediately. Or maybe it is the fact that Louis Abbot steps forward for a duet with Stacey. 'Fire' isn't a million miles away from the feel or sound of 'Boots Met My Face'. As an admirer of that album, that is a good thing. The song ends with a glorious refrain of 'thoughts of you, keep me warm' .

'Boxes' slows things down again, a sparse guitar riff is picked out on an acoustic guitar with Stacey's vocals all hushed and whispered. There are some gorgeous harmonies on this number until it all changes with guitars and drums crashing in. I have to confess that I prefer the first half of the song.

'Beautiful Creature' comes in at under 2-minutes long, yet there is enough time for TM&TM to experiment with sound and timings. Stacey sounds like a bit of a seductress on this one.

The title track 'Honestly, This World' flows on nicely from 'Beautiful Creature', good work on the tracklisting. If TM&TM have a 'sound' then this is a bit of a departure from it, reminding me of the likes of Jefferson Airplane at times. JA are not my particular cup of tea though, nor is this track.

Stacey's vocals are one of the real strengths of this album and of the band. Her ability to soar and to change style from line to line is quite remarkable on the right song. 'Hope Is An Anchor' is a song that really suits her. 'He just went away, put on a shining armour, he'll be back to get you some day'.

'Germany' is one of the more upbeat songs on the album in terms of the feeling to it. There is a great breakdown in the middle of the song when there are some lovely 3 or 4 part harmonies. The song really flows from there on in ending with Stacey shouting 'shake me up, shake you out'. A definite highlight.

'Closing Doors' is one of my tracks of the year. The feeling and production on this are just exceptional. Stacey's vocals are all hushed 'My eyes are bleary at this time of day....'. The cello on this is beautiful, as is the slide guitar, so delicate and soulful and the Emmylou Harris style 'oooh's'. A moment of genuine magic.

TM&TM's debut album flirts between styles throughout, so I was intrigued to see what they would come up with to close it. 'Oceans & Waves' starts gently before slow beats come in. The song veers off into new territory with searing guitar riffs, leaving the acoustic guitar and Stacey far behind. This song has epic stamped all over it, taking the listener on a real journey, as does the album.

All in all this is a good album with some particular stand outs. My personal favourites being 'Closing Doors', 'Germany', 'Hope Is An Anchor' and 'Fire'. Well worth checking out.

Listen before you buy at THE MOTH AND THE MIRROR

Sunday 9 October 2011

Detour - Stellar Sounds at the Glasgow Science Centre Planetarium, 08/10/11

Last night Lynn and I headed along to the Glasgow Science Centre for a rather special gig, curated by the lovely chaps at Detour Scotland. The gig, more of an occasion, was in the Planetarium at the Glasgow Science Centre and was being marketed as 'live music, a gig under the stars.'

Miaoux Miaoux and Remember Remember were the lucky artists hand-picked by Detour to play in this special little theatre. 

We arrived at 7.15pm and after a walk round the venue the doors opened and we headed inside where we had a lovely chat with Halina from Glasgow Podcart, another creative collective who (alongside Detour) are working wonders for unsigned and independent music in Glasgow (and Scotland). The place would be a lot duller without them.

After a quick drink and some more mingling we headed into the Planetarium where Ally McCrae from Detour introduced us to Simon from the Science Centre.

We leaned back in our seats and Simon told us to gaze up to the ceiling. Not hard to do as the seats were at a 45 degree angle. We gazed at the 'night sky', only it was a little cloudy, so Simon instructed us all to breathe in and blow the clouds away. Simon was hilarious, he had a lovely manner.

The stars appeared and Simon gave us a quick lesson, pointing out several stars and systems.

Although we both enjoyed Simon's lesson and his humour, it was time for some music and Miaoux Miaoux was first.

Julian had tailored his set superbly to fit the setting. The room was almost completely dark, save for a few lights glimmering on stage and the universe projected on to the walls of the Planetarium thanks to a huge ball in the middle of the room that resembled the thing Luke Skywalker received his first lightsaber lesson on. 'With the blast shield down I can't see a thing.'

Miaoux Miaoux's set was largely instrumental, other than the gorgeous 'Snow'. There was a welcome return to the set for 'I Am A Microbe' from the debut album 'Rainbow Bubbles'. The slow guitar riff and beats built up into a gorgeous sound that was perfect for the venue, it really captured the mood.

Gazing at the ceiling during 'Cloud Computer' I got lost in the hypnotic guitar melody and the laser effects just added to the 'space' feel. I've never seen nor heard Julian play his old song 'Cherry Blossom Traffic' before, but it was brought out the closet for the night and it was outstanding. Sampling some old Norwegian folk song for vocals, the beats were squelchy and huge. It was a great set, with Julian ensuring that each song flowed from one to the other, there was always some sound. 'Hrvatski' was another highlight.

A half hour break allowed me to beat Lynn 2-1 on the giant Connect 4 game and play with some other scientific games before we headed back in for the second act.

Remember Remember are one of a handful of bands that I have been meaning to check out for ages. Their name has been banded about to acclaim, yet I just hadn't got round to listening to them. In some ways my laziness worked in my favour as it was a great way to be introduced to the band, although afterwards I kicked myself for not having gone to see them earlier.

Remember Remember absolutely blew me away. A 7-piece who I imagine must have records by the Velvets, Axelrod, Love and up to the likes of the Chemical Brothers and Primal Scream in their collections.

Inventive, playful and clearly talented, this curious bunch brought guitars, glockenspiel, saxophone and various electronic gadgets to a packed stage and proceeded to play the shit out of everything in an incredibly melodic inspiring manner. At times they reminded me of Sigur Ros, gentle melodies turned into huge expansive soundscapes, at others it was David Axelrod on the more groove based stuff.

The music and the setting left my wild imagination to run riot, suddenly I was in a show at the Factory in NYC back in the 60's, the projections and the lysergic music combined perfectly.

They ended with a song called 'John Candy' that was just sensational, if I could have got up off my extremely comfy seat and danced I would have. It got to the stage where I wanted the lights to come on so I could watch the band creating this melting pot of sounds. 

I bought their new album 'The Quickening' after the show on lovely gatefold vinyl (with a download code) and I've played it twice today. I can't wait to see them live again.

Top marks to Detour, the Science Centre, Miaoux Miaoux and Remember Remember, this was....a night to remember remember (excuse the pun).

Friday 7 October 2011

Five for Friday 07/10/11

No time for chat this week as my wife and a bottle of red are waiting on me. Just 5 great tunes. Check the sublime strings on this...

Wednesday 5 October 2011

George Harrison - Living In A Material World

Last night I headed along to the Glasgow Film Theatre to watch the 'For One Night Only' screening of the new Martin Scorsese documentary on George Harrison; 'Living In The Material World'.

I arrived at 6pm and treated myself to a lovely pint of Munich Red from the Glasgow brewery WEST as I met up with my sister and our friend Deborah. The queue was already forming, so we joined to ensure we got decent seats. Before long it was doubled back and out the door, Beatlemania is alive and well in Glasgow in 2011.

After a few trailers the film started. Scorsese spliced footage from the Second World War (George was born in 1943) with popular tunes from the time, quickly building up to the formation of The Beatles.

Paul McCartney told the story of how George joined after an audtion on a double-decker bus, riding round Liverpool at night. There was some excellent footage from their Hamburg adventure that happened when George was only 17-years old. He must have grown up fast!

The Hamburg footage cut to interviews with Astrid Kirchherr and Klaus Voormann. We didn't learn anything new but Astrid allowes some very rare photos of John and George at the site of Stuart Sutcliffe's death to be shown. They were very moving. 

Klaus popped up regularly throughout the film and you could tell that his bond with George was particularly strong.

We got caught up in the whirlwind that was Beatlemania and Scorsese worked his magic at times, particularly when The Beatles were in Australia and he somehow spliced pictures taken by George with footage as well, top marks to the researchers.

George dismissed his first Beatles song 'Don't Bother Me', but he realised that songwriting and publishing was the future and formed Harrisongs.

It was quite astonishing to watch Harrison's songwriting skills develop on the big screen. 'If I Needed Someone' , 'Taxman', 'Within You Without You', 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' (featuring his mate Eric Clapton)  and on to the astonishing 'Something' and 'Here Comes The Sun'.

Harrison's personal photo and video library was plundered to astonishing effect, the highlight would have to be footage of George and Paul signing reams of documents to finalise the break up of The Beatles. It left me and my fellow Beatle enthusiasts Stephen and Craig (from Sonny Marvello) wondering what Macca has stored away.

Ringo appeared regularly and often to great laughter (the highlight was a joint interview from the 80's during which George said he stopped 'discotequing' in the 60's and Ringo responded, taking the piss, by saying he stopped 'discotequing' in 1980) amongst the crowd and he highlighted how it was McCartney that kept The Beatles going after the death of Brian Epstein. Something that is often overlooked. 

There were some very frank interviews with Patti Boyd and Eric Clapton, with Boyd admitting that Clapton's stunning 'Layla' won her over. Clapton came across as a bit of a wanker at this point, pinching his beat friends gorgeous wife and playing it off on sixties swinging and free love. Harrison seemed to be a bit of a womaniser himself to be fair.

On to the solo years with Neil Aspinall confirming that George had been stockpiling songs that culminated in the astonishing 'All Things Must Pass' double album. The songs sounded fresh and vital, blasting out on the GFT speakers.

George hooked up with Ravi Shanker in the 60's and the pair became life long friends, leading to George's amazing 'Concert for Bangladesh' and there was some fantastic footage from the concert.

Phil Spector was interviewed to the amusement of the crowd, the genuis producer remarked on how shambloic it had all been and he had to literally drag Dylan from his apartment to play.

Harrison's 'lost years' were glossed over somewhat, but the use of heavy drugs was hinted at.

Olivia Harrison gave some very personal interviews, emotional and revealing. She admitted that George was far from a saint and that the secret of a good marriage was ' not to get divorced'.

Humour was apparent all through the film and my own personal favourite was footage of Macca visiting George (mid 90's I reckon) and coming into the room wearing a leather jacket only for George to immediately rip the piss out of him with; 'Is that a vegetarian leather jacket?'

Considerable time was devoted to George's own devotion to meditation and Hare Krishna. In later years we learned of how he was ultimately preparing for his own death and that he was determined to leave in the right way.

So much happened in George's life, this review hasn't even touched on his importance to British comedy and his bankrolling of Python's 'The Life of Brian' and other films he got involved with. 

George's humour and natural warmth touched his friends to a great extent. He was never afraid to show his love and how her cared. There were some very touching stories about George's friendship, it all came naturally to him.

George's battle with cancer and the horrendous attack on him in his own home received coverage, including a rather graphic blow by blow account by Olivia.

Ultimately, the film showed the remarkable rise of a young man from Liverpool with confidence in his ability as an artist and as a person. George's life touched millions around the world. Scorsese's documentary allowed us to hear from some of the people he touched the most. 

An outstanding documentary. 

R.I.P George

Saturday 1 October 2011

(I Can't Get No) Stevie Jackson

One of my favourite guitarists is Stevie Jackson from Belle and Sebastian. Stevie makes it look easy, he is inventive with his riffs and licks, understands that simple can be best at times and he looks good when he is playing, at ease with his instrument. He also has some very sharp suits...

Stevie has just his long awaited debut solo album, the title showcasing his sense of humour from the start....(I Can't Get No) Stevie Jackson.

I've literally just downloaded the album, (you can too by clicking HERE) so this review is very much on first listen. For Stevie's own reflections on each song, head to the songs section of his website.

Pure of Heart
Is a gentle opener, a love song looking back, the lyrics are playful at times, more serious at others

Need a friend to be my lover, And I know there’ll be other, I’ll be Pure of Heart

Just, Just So To The Point
Is straight into a groove, hushed playful (again) vocals, there is a nice break in the song towards the end and some gorgeous strings.

Houston we don’t have a problem, Tom Hanks, no thanks
To the promise of a better world (Goodbye Apollo 13)

Try Me
Third song in and we get what I would describe as the most 'Stevie' track to date. It's 60's mod/beat, simple and effective, it's got a groove again but in a different way from 'Just...'. I can't wait to hear and see this performed live. This flies along.

At 37 I was still in your tree, I’d pass for 33 so Try Me
I got pills and I’m looking for thrills
At the same time I want to start a family Try Me Try Me

Richie Now
Is another song reflecting on the past, this time a friend who Stevie shared a taste in music and dreams. There is a gorgeous section featuring harmonies with the singer Rose Melberg.

He has every Beatle record and me I only had one…
‘Twist and Shout’ EP
 from 1963
He talked of 
‘Rubber Soul’
 and wonder would unfold.

Dead Man's Fall
A kind of pastoral song (if that is an expression that makes sense), acoustic and melodic, some great harmonies and backing vocals with a great 'doo-wap-da-doowap-da' section.

Remember the time that I fell, for you it meant nothing at all
Playing at dead man’s fall, you ran down the hall

Abbey View
Reflects on changes in modern times; how things changing, being demolished or renovated, were once new. This is a lovely slow acoustic number really highlighting how beautiful Stevie's voice is and his ability to find a melody with ease.

What was old once was new, taking a bird’s eye view

Man of God
Another more upbeat number with Stevie referencing soul music in his own notes (and indeed in the song lyrics at the end). The beat, strings and guitar riffs certainly reflect on his influences. This is another song I can't wait to hear (and see) live as I can really see Stevie getting into it.

Hear the voice of Donny Hathaway and the Detroit Emeralds
Playing on my turntable for youAnd the Love Unlimited Can you feel the need in me? 
Can you feel the need?Rock my boat, baby rock the ocean

On first listen I'd kind of liken this to the most 'Belle & Sebastian' song so far. Hey, I can't imagine many people will review this album without a mention of Stevie's band. I love the feeling in the production, the melody and the trumpet and these lyrics are great.

For Life is never certain in the slightest sense of meaning
Feel the Universal time with fullness of my Being

Where Do All The Good Girls Go? 
Good question Stevie....According to his notes, Mr Jackson has had this song since he was 17 and you can certainly imagine someone at that age coming up with a title like that. Plenty of hmour in this song with Stevie showcasing his French skills and again this could be a great live song. I love when it moves up a gear before the stomping instrumental complete with handclaps. It becomes quite Kinksy after the instrumental.

Where do they go? 
There’s none that I can see 
Where do they go? Où est la belle vie?Where do they go?

Telephone Song
I really love this song, another one reminiscing of the past, simpler times, wanting to call someone, carving her number on the wall, running in the rain with your mates...The opening verse is superb (below), the strings are suitably uplifting at the right moments.

Money and style and friends and work
Music and sex and art and scene
Boys and girls and drugs and dreams
That’s you girlThere’s a lot to be said for a telephone line
I could call you up I could make it so fine

Press Send
Another song that totally highlights Stevie's sense of humour, again, without wishing to repeat myself, this will be fab live. Loads of playful backing vocals as Stevie wonders if he should send an email and he doesn't need a spellcheck to spell out the letters 'I Love You'.

I was told that I should phone her but talking’s never been my scene
(Don’t send, do send, don’t send, do send) 

I’ve been staring at my letter and “SEND” is jumping out from the screen 
(Don’t send, do send, don’t send, do send)
I don’t need a spell check to spell out the letters I love you “L U V”
(Don’t send, do send, don’t send, do send)

Feel the Morning
Described by Stevie as a very spontaneous recording, it has that lovely warm production feeling that can be hard to replicate if ti isn't captured live. There is a country tinge to this song, Stevie's vocals are stunning, as are the harmonies and the hook 'HEY, you mean so much to me' is so simple and so brilliant. There is a real looseness to the playing, beautiful steel guitar riffs and handclaps that just add to the feeling. A great way to close the album.

The more I saw you, I can’t forget you, I want to see you soon  
I’m a flower and it’s raining, it really does me good  
Feel the morning, feel the evening, feel the same way too  
I have see it and I like it, so how about you?

So, there you have it a review as I listened to the album. I can't wait to listen to it again and I would certainly recommend buying it, along with tickets to see Stevie at Tuts (if you are in Glasgow, check his website or the flyer above for tour dates).