Friday 18 January 2013

Paws ft. Alice Costelloe - Sore Tummy

The fact that this blog is named after 'Everything Flows' by Teenage Fanclub probably lets it slip that I like some nice fuzzy guitars at times. I do, so there you go.

Paws are a band that have been floating around for a while, releasing some very DIY tapes, a split single on the excellent Gerry Loves Records (another Fanclub reference) and then signing to Fat Cat Records who have a pretty strong track record for taking Scottish bands, working them hard and building them up (Frightened Rabbit, Twilight Sad and We Were Promised Jetpacks).

I was actually in the audience at a Born To Be Wide/Wide Days gig (following a seminar) on the night that Paws were signed to Fat Cat. I was rather drunk and enjoyed their fuzzy guitar indie pop, but then I never really followed them afterwards for whatever reason.

So I haven't bought their album 'Cokefloat!' yet, despite loads of good reviews. On the evidence of this incredible single I have clearly missed out.

Browing Facebook and Twitter on a quiet and cold January night I came across a warm slice of indie guitar pop heaven. This.....

The guitars sound like they could have been half-inched from a number of old 7-inches collecting dust in my back room. The dual vocals (with guest Alice Costelloe from Big Deal) are immediate and infectious, the melody flows with ease.

'Sore Tummy' is a phrase used quite commonly in Scotland - it is a great title, the song is full of humour and some brilliant lines;

He looks like a junky sometimes, but junkies have beautiful eyes
The doctors dont' know anything, it's not right, not right

You're so tired of hearing me, talk about my sore tummy
The doctors don't know anything, it's not right, not right
Well my belly sure does hurt me, but it's OK cause I feel down a lot
The contractions come and go like a birth, but if a babys on the way I'd be surprised

This is just indie guitar pop perfection, echoes of Dinosaur Jr and The Breeders shine through. I'll be buying the album and no doubt kicking myself for not buying it on release.

Sunday 13 January 2013

Where Are We Now? - David Bowie

I wasn't the only music fan to be shocked by the return of David Bowie last week. The Thin White Duke has been something of a recluse for a good few years, there have been rumours surrounding his health and even his life, yet nothing about writing and recording.

'Where Are We Now?', released on Monday night on the eve of his 66th birthday, is Bowie's first new song in 10-years. It finds him sounding melancholic, reflective (on his legendary Berlin period judging by the places name checked in the song) and in excellent form.

The vocals are exquisite and exceptional, the production and music sound almost familiar, so the announcement that it was produced by long-term producer of choice Tony Visconti, was no real surprise. The fact that they have recorded an album is.

The music builds into an almost marching beat towards the conclusion of the song, with Bowie sounding terrific in the '... as long as there's fire, as long as there's me, as long as there's you' section.

2013 seems like a perfect time for Bowie to return; a true artist, a chameleon, someone with a voice and the intelligence to use it in verse and in press. Judging by the way twitter went into meltdown, there are plenty of people who want to hear more from Bowie, on this evidence I am most definitely one of them.

Had to get the train 

From Potzdamer platz 
You never knew that 
That I could do that 
Just walking the dead 

Sitting in the Dschungel 
On Nurnberger strasse 
A man lost in time near KaDeWe 
Just walking the dead 

Where are we now? 
Where are we now? 
The moment you know 
You know, you know 

Twenty thousand people 
Gross Bose Brucke 
Fingers are crossed 
Just in case 
Walking the dead 

Where are we now? 
Where are we now? 
The moment you know 
You know, you know 
As long as there's sun 
As long as there's sun 
As long as there's rain 
As long as there's rain 
As long as there's fire 
As long as there's fire 
As long as there's me 
As long as there's you

Saturday 5 January 2013

Tips for 2013

The end of year 'best of' lists are barely over before magazines, radio shows and bloggers launch feet first into their 'tips for 2013'.

I decided to investigate 5 of the bands being highlighted in these lists (many of which have top PR people working for them to get them there) to discover if I would be falling for any of them in the year ahead.

Palma Violets are receiving huge support from the likes of the NME. They look like they wanna be The Libertines, however they look far too clean cut to inspire the kind of devotion that Doherty and Barrat did.

The first song of theirs I listened to was 'Tom the Drum' via the BBC website and I thought it was so shite that I wouldn't bother listening to anything else they had to offer.

I did persist though and checked out 'Best of Friends' via their website. The chorus is admittedly pretty good. I just get the feeling that they are trying too hard for their look and sound. It was natural for The Libertines, this just seems pretty fake to me.

VERDICT - I won't be wasting much time on Palma Violets.They will probably release one moment of punky guitar pop genious but depsite being on the brilliant Rough Trade, I won't be holding my breath,

Haim are number one in the celebrated BBC Sound of 2013 list and have also been widely tipped across the music press. I discovered them towards the end of 2012 when I downloaded 'Forever' after a friend was tweeting about it. 

The song flows superbly and I do love the refrain at the end;

Go, go, go get out, get out of my memory
No, no, no not tonight I don't have the energy

'Don't Save Me' is more of the same, clever and catchy pop with echoes of Fleetwood Mac.

VERDICT - Definitely worth checking out. The album could soundtrack a sunny summer.

The Strypes are freshly signed to Mercury Records and are so fresh faced that they look like they would struggle to get served in my local pub(well they are all 14-16!)

When you google the band one of the items near the top is 'Elton John checks out RADAR band The Strypes at tiny Brighton pub gig'. That's when the cynic in me thinks - jeez they must have some good connections.

The Strypes play raw rock'n'roll, Van Morrison's days with Them seem to be an immediate stand out amongst their many influences; they have some choice covers from the likes of Bo Didley and the Stones on their YouTube channel.

VERDICT - A spectacular year including every festival imaginable but can the youngsters keep up the pace or will they crash and burn? Will they produce material of their own to match their great choice of covers? Kudos to their folks for introducing them to some great music.

Peace - are another band whose name seems to be cropping up in all the right places at the right time. My initial reaction to them was 'cool website'. I chose to check out their song and video 'Bloodshake'. The guitar melody is quite Vampire Weekend-y, the video comes across as being a bit like The Word (cult 90's TV show on Channel 4) and the band look like they aren't really a band - as in they are all a bit different. I didn't last until the end of the song.

I checked out their song 'Follow Baby' and it seems to be strange melting pot of Northside, Jesus Jones and Senseless Things. For those of you not as old as me - this ain't good.

VERDICT - Particularly poor. 

Next up I opted to check out some futuristic R&B courtesy of AlunaGeorge who made the final 5 on the BBC Sound of list. 'Just A Touch' is the song featured on the Beeb website and it had me hooked immediately with a catchy riff, gorgeous vocals and melody with a shift in pace at all the right times.

Next up I checked out 'Your Drums, Your Love' on YouTube and thought that the phrase 'futuristic R&B' describes them perfectly. This is not the kind of music that features heavily in my record collection but when I stumble across something like this then I do get into it. The chorus is uplifting, the production is sublime and the vocals are once again gorgeous.

VERDICT - A critically acclaimed album that gets to the Mercury shortlist.

So there you have it - pass marks for AlunaGeorge and Haim, a definitely maybe for The Strypes and a thanks but no thanks for Palma Violets and Peace,