Saturday 25 April 2015

TeenCanteen presents The Girl Effect for Scottish Women's Aid

My sister Carla is the singer and songwriter in the band TeenCanteen and she has decided to organise a rather special night for her birthday this year in aid of Scottish Women's Aid.

Artists including Scottish indie legends Eugene Kelly (The Vaselines) and Duglas T Stewart (BMX Bandits) along with up and coming artists like Machines In Heaven, Flash Talk, Solareye and Henry and Fleetwood, will be covering songs of their choice by girl groups.

All artists have donated their time for free, as has the venue and technicians working on the show. So fingers crossed a lot of money is raised for Scottish Women's Aid. CLICK FOR TICKETS

Eugene Kelly has already confirmed he will be covering the All Saints classic Never Ever! Surely worth the £10 admission fee alone!

TeenCanteen have also confirmed that the songs Modern Girl by Sleater Kinney, the classic Nowhere To Run by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Freak Like Me by the Sugababes and the still incredible Push It by Salt n Peppa will be covered on the night.

But by whom..... you'll need to go to find out.

I caught up with my sister to find out why this event is so special to her and to hear about her love of girl groups ranging from the 50's through to present day.

 1) Why are you holding The Girl Effect in aid of Scottish Women’s Aid? 

On the 2nd May I turn 30 this year (sorry to disappoint any TC fans - TeenCanteen is a way of life and not an age) and I am really looking forward to entering the next decade of my life. I'm excited about it! I feel like I've been stuck in my twenties forever.

As happy as I am about turning thirty, this year also marks it being 15 years since my Dad passed away. He passed away on 9th May exactly a week after I turned 15. I'm sad he hasn't seen the kind of person that I've turned out to be and often wonder what he would have thought of the choices I've made in life. For me turning thirty is cause for celebration, but it's also time for me to shut the door on feeling this way and move on. Because I'm sure his passing has greatly affected the choices I've made and the person I'm turning out to be. I wanted to do something for my thirtieth that was positive, that took my mind off negative feelings and promoted the things I believe in. I wanted the 9th May to be a date to look forward to and not one to dread. 

That's the personal reason...

The main reason.

I'd love to live in a world where organisations such as Scottish Women's Aid - wonderful as they are - don't need to exist because as a society we had managed to end gender inequality and we'd been able to treat and stop the causes of domestic abuse.
I hope that one day such a society will exist because I have two beautiful nieces that I want to grow up believing they can achieve anything they want without fear or prejudice. Until such a world exists I feel I should do my part to try and get it there. 
Scottish Women's Aid mission statement - to end violence against women by tackling its root cause, which is gender inequality. SWA do amazing work to ensure that services and support are available across Scotland for women, young people and children with experience of domestic abuse - both physical and psychological - their work is vital. Scottish Women's Aid promote women's equality and children's rights and campaign for responses which actively prevent violence against women. They provide safe spaces - whether that be living spaces or online spaces - for women to share and communicate, seek help and get support

2) How did you choose the acts on the bill? 

I've been lucky to play alongside a lot of bands that have become friends over the years. When organising an event like this you don't know who is going to say YES to playing - you ask and find out. I couldn't belive the overwhelming response from everyone I asked. My inbox filled up with YES.

It's a lot to ask - 'can you learn new songs, come and play Edinburgh and oh, by the way, can you do all this for free?' I wouldn't say I 'chose' the bands - I didn't deem one band worthy of asking over another. I just asked those whom I thought would share my same enthusiasm for, what has become, a project. Those who I knew I could work well with. There wasn't a back up plan in case everyone said no. 

Chloe, Debs, Carla and Sita - TeenCanteen
Photo by Kat Gollock

It was important to me to have a varied bill of bands - it makes for a more exciting evening. I have no idea what any of the performances will be like - that's a big part of the appeal - the anticipation. I can tell you that all the bands involved were asked because I have seen them live and thought they were sonically brilliant in their own individual ways. Throw in some Destiny's Child and (inevitably) glitter face paint courtesy of our bass player Sita - I know it'll be an exciting night. It'll be fun, hectic, we'll all be running around the place, I'm sure someone will forget a guitar lead or a keyboard stand and some of us might be singing off of sheets of paper - I CAN'T WAIT.

3) Can you remember the first girl group you heard and were into? What attracted you to them? 

I can't remember what the first ever girl- group record was that I ever listened to. At all. I can only assume from my age that it must have been Bananarama. I significantly remember Shakespears Sister and Shampoo being on Top of The Pops. I remember Eternal but I didn't want to be in Eternal or emulate them in anyway. I was never a fan of their songs. I'll never forget the first time I saw The Spice Girls - they were so amazingly scruffy in the Wannabe video - so thrown together. I didn't so much as think of them as a girl group but as a girl gang. I wanted a gang! It looked like a lot of fun.

I'll never forget the day I first heard Arlene Smith's (The Chantels) sublime vocal burst out of my record player on the song He's Gone. I think I was 19. Her voice soared out of my speakers and epitomised heartbreak. She's one of the best female vocalists and songwriters of the last century. Or the first time I heard Mr Lee by The Bobbettes, a young and feisty girl group -  whoops and hollers of girlish delight from girls aged between 12 and 15 singing about a crush on their teacher.

I've been fortunate to witness Ronnie Spector sing live at The Arches when we went in 2009. The audience was full of young and old. Women, men, girls and boys. At one point we were standing next to an older couple who were hugging each other and crying. Ronnie was singing Be My Baby. I asked the couple why they were crying. They said to me 'it's the sound of our teenage years.' Have you ever heard anything so beautiful in your life?'

I looked at Ronnie on stage. Frail and sitting down, but still with masses of hair piled high on her head, war paint red lipstick and magic marker eyeliner singing straight from the heart.

I hadn't heard anything so gloriously youthful and universal in my life.

4) You know some of the songs that groups are covering; can you share them with us? 

Everything is under wraps other than those mentioned above. 

5) Finally could you tell us about 7 of your favourite girl group songs and why you like them? 


I'll go for Top 10 Girl Group songs I just simply couldn't live without:

1. The Cookies - Don't Say Nothing Bad About My BabyThe Cookies are my number one favourite ever girl group. I love Earl Jean's voice, it's like an iron fist in a velvet glove. This song is what spurred me onto my life consuming girl group obsession. I couldn't belive what I was hearing when I put the needle on the record. It changed my life forever. 

2. The Chantels - He's Goneas mentioned before. Quite simply breathtaking. Unbelievable harmonies. Unbelievable lead. Gorgoues melodies.

3. Honey Cone - The Day I Found Myself Darlene Love's kid sisters band. They were amazing! Holland Dozier Holland wrote a lot for them. The brass on this is phenomenal. Classic sisteryly advice song. 

4. The Jewels - OpportunityFantastic piano intro, girl gang hand claps. Great bass vocal harmony and bounces along with so. Much. Sass. 

5. The Blossoms - Good Good LovinA great classic love song. I love the delicious 'oooohs' when they come in. Not so much a girl group as sounding like a woman group. Sultry pop. 

6. Laura Nyro and LaBelle - I Met Him On A SundayLaura Nyro is perhaps my favourite songwriter and singer of all time. Gloriously mental arrangements. She has a habit of taking her songs into places you just weren't expecting them to go. This is her cover version of 'I Met Him On A Sunday' featuring girl group Labelle. I think it was recorded in her flat? It's so joyful when it all kicks in. 

7. The Fuzz - Leave It All BehindOne album in 1971 ' The Fuzz'. One of the first popular recordings to feature female spoken word. A lot of written by Sheila Young. I wish there had been more albums. 

8. The Cinderellas - Baby Baby I Still Love YouQuite simply I think this is one of the best pop song recordings ever. It has everything I need

9. The Bobbettes - Um Bow Bowmentioned them above. They had a habit of writing nonsensical lyrics. But they ALL make sense to me. I still can't get over how young they were. 

10. The Ikettes - It's Been So Long I love Northern Soul as much as I love girl groups. Well, not as much. It's maybe my second favourite genre! This ticks both boxes. I found this on a Kent compilation a while back. Me and my friend Jenna used to play this a lot back in the days when we used to DJ together. 

Wednesday 22 April 2015

Oasis Sheffield Arena 1995

As I approach the tender age of 40 I have been reminiscing a lot about music I loved 20-years ago. I think it is all part of a mini mid-life crisis! So much happened back in 1994 and into 1995 - Kurt's suicide, Oasis, Britpop, the demise of the Roses....

A year after Kurt's passing, April 1995 was all about one band - Oasis. I had fallen for them big style in 1994 when they burst on to the scene with Supersonic, following it with regular singles backed with outstanding b-sides and that glorious euphoric debut album Definitely Maybe.

Word was definitely out though, Oasis were heading towards arenas/stadiums and for some reason they chose Sheffield Arena as their first arena show....with rumours they wouldn't be playing anywhere nearly as many UK gigs as they did in brother Ross and best mate Reddy decided we were going.

There was a bus going from Glasgow, stopping off at Hamilton Services early in the morning, so that is where we decided to get on.

Reddy came to stay at ours the night before and although we had planned a quiet one Ross and Reddy proceeded to drink the carry out they had bought for the bus! I remember we watched tapes of Oasis TV performances, including a recent one on the White Room.

Oasis were on a different level from 1994-96. The songs, look, attitude, live shows. They put their foot on the gas and didn't stop, leaving other bands trailing in their wake. Releasing singles every few months containing incredible b-sides, 2 classic albums and playing a host of memorable shows culminating in 2-nights at Knebworth.

There was a tremendous sense of anticipation as my Dad dropped us at Hamilton Services the next day. We boarded the bus and unsurprisingly Ross and Reddy crashed out as I chatted to a few people, enjoyed some good music and then opened a 2-litre bottle of Strongbow to drink on the way down. Good times.

We approached Sheffield and I remember being amazed at how industrial it was - and this was from someone whose Dad worked in the shadow of Ravenscraig. Sheffield took it to another level with huge sites spewing industrial fumes into the air.... and it looked like a total dump. What the hell were Oasis doing playing here?

Ross and Reddy were in the mood for alcohol when we parked at the Arena with loads of time until the gig, so off we went in search of some. I was pleasantly pissed as it was after finishing my cider. The two of them bought a bottle of vodka and some cheap imitation Coca Cola for something like 21p. They then decided to mix it and pass it back and forth until they finished it.

They still blame the cheap Coca Cola for what happened next! However, that shall remain between us  and not for this blog. All I can say is that one of them missed the entire show!

April 1995 was a huge month for Oasis; their first number 1 with Some Might Say, a new drummer - Sheffield was Tony McCarroll's last gig, there was the filming of the Live By The Sea DVD, a ferocious live performance on the White Room and Sheffield Arena.

The whole show is available to listen to HERE

20-years down the line, the memories are a little faded but I remember the atmosphere in the arena was absolutely electric; it must have been the first opportunity for many to see Oasis live following their success with Whatever and the forthcoming Some Might Say. A barrier had been set up 2/3 of the way down the standing area to prevent crushing at the front. I tried to jump it a good half dozen times through the show but security caught me every time.

Listening back to the show brings back some memories. The band are on fire, ripping through Rock n Roll Star with Liam sounding sensational and also off his head and they fire straight into the groove of Columbia.

Liam mentions the barrier in the crowd and wants everyone in together before romping through Digsy's Dinner and blasting through Some Might Say.

Liam didn't move much on stage but you just could not take your eyes off him, he had (and still has) an edge. You didn't know what he was going to do or say next, but you knew he was giving it 110% and that night (and every single day) he was a Rock n Roll Star.

It's a 90-minute set delivered in blistering form by a band who had been on the road for over a year. Listen to Liam ripping through Headshrinker - pure Pistols.

Oasis ooze confidence as they throw in b-sides and Noel takes centre stage for an acoustic section that allows everyone the opportunity to catch their breath.

Noel shows off by playing Don't Look Back In Anger which he 'only finished on Tuesday' and at this stage it also didn't have a title.

Oasis romped through a 19 song set, only a year after the release of their first single. They had the quality, the quantity and two total stars in Liam and Noel.

They blitzed through 1995 and that summer headlined Glastonbury and played two memorable shows at Irvine Beach in Scotland. Earls Court would follow later in the year.

1: Rock 'n' Roll Star 
2: Columbia 
3: Digsy's Dinner 
4: Some Might Say 
5: Shakermaker 
6: Live Forever 
7: Up in the Sky 
8: Acquiesce 
9: Headshrinker 
10: (It's Good) To Be Free 
11: Cigarettes and Alcohol 
12: Married With Children
13: Take Me Away 
14: Don't Look Back in Anger (First time ever)
15: Talk Tonight 
16: Whatever
17: Slide Away 
18: Supersonic 
19: I Am the Walrus 

Sunday 19 April 2015

How Many Glasgow

Yesterday I bought the album How Many Glasgow by Jad Fair, Tenniscoats and Norman Blake on Japanese import and I have been enjoying a lovely Sunday evening lying in bed listening to it with headphones on, watching the sun go down on a lovely sunny April weekend in Glasgow.

So how did the album come about?

In 2012 Jad and Norman were invited by Daniel Johnston to play at one of his exhibitions in Madrid. The duo subsequently went to Japan to tour with Tenniscoats (Saya and Ueno Takashi) and after two shows in Tokyo they booked a recording session; How Many Glasgow is the result of that session with most of the tracks recorded in 2 or 3 takes over the course of 2-days.

I'm real pleased with how it came out. It has a friendly and natural feel to it - Jad Fair

Mostly improvised, you hear the songs in the order they were recorded. Jad is an inspiration and a huge talent....Tenniscoats are one of my favourite groups. They are original and fearless and it was a privilege to work with them - Norman Blake

Jad's description is spot on. The album has a very warm feeling to it - 4 friends coming together to create and record an album virtually on the spot.

The artists combine well - the music is relatively simple; largely finger picked guitar with some keyboards, organ and a little percussion. Jad's contribution is improvised spoken word with Tenniscoats making up backing vocal melodies on the spot.

Jad's lyrics are all about love and hope, his voice is very easy and at times very soothing to listen to. Tenniscoats sound utterly gorgeous.

There are some sublime moments; Yes, We Can is an early highlight while Reading Bubbles with the Japanese vocals and melody is absolutely stunning. Jad's mellow and calm spoken word section combines beautifully with those of Tenniscoats. Then it is the turn of Norman to sing with Tenniscoats on the beautiful Raindrops (track 4).

This Is A Time is probably my favourite song on the album; it has a lovely feel to it and all 3 artists are at their best - Norman playing some mellow guitar, Tenniscoats  playing some subtle keyboards and singing backing vocals while Jad is at his romantic best.

A brand new day has begun
A brand new spring has now been sprung
And into this life we have been flung
Let's make the most of it
Horray for us

Doowee Do (track 11) has Norman singing in Japanese and harmonising with Tenniscoats and The Door Will Open is a fragile beauty.

The way the album was recorded is captured beautifully at the start of I Have A Plan with Jad and Tenniscoats laughing as they begin - the song is another highlight.

The closing Yo Yo Yo! is clear evidence that this is an improvised album, this is just a fun jam, sounding like it was recorded in one take - but who cares when you have songs like those mentioned above.

Norman and Jad play Mono in Glasgow on Monday 18th May. Tickets HERE

Monday 13 April 2015

Record Store Day

Record Store Day started back in 2007 when 700 independent American record stores decided to come together to celebrate their unique culture. The UK quickly followed and 2015 is the 8th year of Record Store Day in the UK.

I've visited some fantastic record stores around the world on my travels; UK favourites would be Glasgow's own Monorail and Manchester's Piccadilly Records. My sister also took me to an incredible shop in Edinburgh called Backbeat Records that is proper old school, perfect for crate digging - packed to the rafters with all kinds of incredible stuff. You might not be able to find what you are looking for - but ask the owner and he'll know what nook, cranny or box to look in. You'll definitely find something!

Internationally I have been in some sensational stores in New York City, Lucky Records in Rejkjavik,  some crackers in Australia - especially one in Freemantle and some beauties in Argentina where you literally had to dust the records down.

Backbeat Records in Edinburgh

Of course many independent record stores have closed down - I spent many happy hours as a teenager trawling round Browser's in Lanark and Impulse Records in Motherwell and Hamilton. All now sadly closed. Unknown Pleasures in St Andrews was also an old favourite.

The main aim of Record Store Day is to shine a spotlight on independent record stores and on vinyl. In some ways it seems to be working; vinyl sales continue to increase year on year. Stores were closing at a worryingly fast rate, however that seems to have slowed and almost stalled.

Missing Records in Glasgow is still around. Back in the 1990's, when it was around the corner from its current location and then in Wellington Street, it was a store largely responsible for a huge amount of my record collection. I must have visited Missing 2 or 3 times a week for a number of years; buying new releases, discovering old music and raiding the second hand section with every spare few pounds I had.

I remember, as a teenager still at school, pondering over whether to buy Goldmine by James or Out Of Time by REM as I could only afford one (I chose James).

I remember running from work at 5pm down to Missing to spend 15 or 20-minutes browsing before catching the train back to Carluke.

I remember raiding Tower Records closing down sale and getting 4 copies of the Nirvana/Jesus Lizard split 7-inch and trading 2 of them for Teenage Fanclub's debut 7-inch Everything Flows from Missing Records - the song that this blog is named after.

I remember the smell of the vinyl, the protective sleeves, the classic Missing bag and I remember buying some fantastic records - sometimes because I was searching for them, sometimes cause I liked the look of the sleeve, or maybe I had read something about that album/single, or maybe the staff were playing something I liked the sound of - like Stereolab.

Segundo by Juana Molina - an album I bought because of the sleeve (music good too!)

Bit less risky than Juana Molina - but another album I bought due to the sleeve

Missing was important. It was (and is) incredibly near Central Station, yet it was just out of the way enough to be different, to be the kind of place you had to know about. No-one really stumbled across anything down that part of the city. It's kind of like the bit in High Fidelity when Rob is describing his store - just right!

The classic 'I will now sell 5 copies of the Three EP's by the Beta Band' scene

Mixed Up Records in Otago Lane was a favourite of mine for a number of years when I had my flat in Dennistoun. The kind of record shop I could never walk into and come away empty handed.

Oxfam Music in Byres Road is another fantastic store in Glasgow that I still visit when I am up the West End. I got to know the manager Andrew when I volunteered for Oxfam and I remember being amazed when he took me down to the basement to show me all the stuff they were sifting through to decide what to sell, what was worth a bit and what was worthless. They had some incredible stuff and  I made a mental note that it would be a great setting for a band photo/sleeve and later took Sonny Marvello there when I started managing them. One of my all-time great second hand buys was the white 12-inch of Rez by Underworld for £6.99 in Oxfam Music. I think I was so pleased that I gave them a tenner - obviously pre kids when I had some spare money!

Sonny Marvello photo shoot in the Oxfam Music basement

FOPP has also played a vital role in my musical education and in stocking my record and CD collection. The original store in Byres Road is still magical; a cool location, rammed with all kinds of brilliant music and many of it at fantastic prices.

Love Music (formerly Avalanche Records) around the corner from Queen Street Station was a favourite of mine when I stayed in Dennistoun. Very handy on a walk home if the sun was shining or if I was in the mood. It is still going strong and is very active in promoting Scottish independent and DIY music.

Monorail is my favourite these days. There is something soothing about walking in and seeing Dep who worked in Missing Records all those years ago when I was first buying records in Glasgow. And the fact that Stephen from The Pastels might be working behind the counter is still a bit of a thrill to the indie kid in me (and I'm sure I am not the only one!).

The conversation in Monorail is great. I love wandering in (usually on a Monday before 5-a-sides if I have time and money) and checking out the music being played and listening to what the staff are talking about - International Airport, Vic Goddard, Edwyn Collins, how well the new Mogwai release is doing...

The staff in Monorail are always happy to help. I remember going in after reading an article in Uncut about a brilliant rereleased album of guitar pop. I couldn't remember the band name or album though! With a bit of questioning Stephen managed to decipher that it was East Village and their Drop Out album!

Monorail, like the old Missing, is just perfectly placed. Central, but just out the way of everything else. It also has the café bar for beers, food and the odd gig.

Monorail Records - right place, right vibe, right staff - just so right
I started this blog without a real purpose, I really just wanted to reminisce about my enjoyment of record stores. I've had hundreds (if not thousands) of Record Store Days through my life; I've gone on my own, with my wife, with my eldest daughter, with friends....I've gone in knowing what I wanted, I've gone out after spending a lot more than I intended!
Any day could be a record store day for me and for you. This Saturday I'll be heading into Monorail with my friend Dave for a few beers, some music and some records. You can't get a much better day than that really....

Thursday 2 April 2015

The Voice

On Saturday night I'll be tuning into the live final of BBC's The Voice and I'll be rooting for Scotland's own Stevie McCrorie.

You're the voice try and understand it - John Farnham, The Voice

One of the great things about Stevie McCrorie is that he is so modest and thankful; still learning and understanding (in the words of John Farnham) that he has the voice, the kind words that people have to say about him, the reaction he is generating and the goodwill towards him. Stevie is loving it, lapping it all up, enjoying meeting people and responding (with ease) to the challenges and live audiences he faces each week, gradually understanding that he has a real talent and his life is changing in a big, big way.

Stevie McCorie's incredible blind audtion - Celtic Soul

More and more people are understanding that Stevie has The Voice and his decision to enter the talent competition has already been well and truly justified ahead of Saturday's live final on BBC1.

I've been taking more interest than usual in the show (which is miles better than X-Factor) due to the fact that Stevie used to be in a band I followed called Stevie and the Moon. So more 'indie kids' in Glasgow and throughout Scotland than normal are probably following the show due to the fact that Stevie is in it. He made a lasting impression on fellow artists, indie/DIY fans, bloggers, promoters and presenters for the same reason he is making such a positive impression on the show - his voice and personality.

Stevie has always had a brilliant voice, try and track down the euphoric Born Again and his guest vocals on his great friend MOPP's A Day Needs More Love, and he now has the platform to push his talent as far as he can.

Stevie guesting for his great friend MOPP

Stevie had the choice of all 4 judges and Rita Orla made a big play for him, but he chose extremely well in Ricky Wilson who is rooting for him just as much as his adoring fans.

The support for Stevie in Scotland will reach fever pitch on Saturday; technically he has a 4/1 chance of winning (William Hill has him as 4/6) and I for one will be voting for him - the first time I have voted for someone in a TV talent contest.

Regardless of the result, this has been an incredible journey for Stevie and I wish him all the best for the future.

Wednesday 1 April 2015

Beyond The Silver Sea

Disappointing Todd Rundgren gigs, Tascam 4 track cassette recorders, animal oddities, 
The Monkees, cider, children's TV shows from the 80's and sci-fi movies (good and bad)
 are all ingredients to the sounds of Dr Cosmo's Tape Lab.

Jeez - if that description doesn't encourage you to step inside Dr Cosmo's Tape Lab then I don't know what will, maybe this blog will help!

The bands debut album Ever Evolving Lounge was a favourite of mine last year; jam packed with McCartney style melodies, a lysergic take on guitar pop, a nod to the Beta Band and a glorious feeling of 'we couldn't give one flying f**k what other people are doing - this is the kind of music we love and create.'

Needless to say I have been looking forward to their follow up for a doesn't disappoint.

Beyond The Silver Sea is available on silver (naturally) vinyl via Sugarbush Records and comes with artwork, a badge and also immediate download. You can also get it on CD or just opt for boring old download.

Anyway, on to the album....

It builds on everything I enjoyed about Ever Evolving Lounge and adds a little more; each song is proceeded by a narrative about our hero Max in a kind of Small Faces Odgen's Nut Gone Flake way - done in a nice nutty Glaswegian manner.

The songs are exceptional; Joe Kane and Stuart Kidd are extremely talented musicians creating some majestic moments, particularly on The Mirror's Reflection and The Star's My Destination and the closing trilogy. If their debut was perhaps a collection of songs by friends seeing what they could do, this is definitely an album.

We are introduced to Max before harmonies, beat, walking bass and a sense of urgency bring in City and the Stars that closes with classic Beatles-y backing vocals and a raucous guitar solo followed by a glorious breakdown.

The Mirror's Reflection is absolutely stunning melodic pop rock; The Beatles and Macca are in there for sure, the songwriting, playing, vocals, structure and production are exquisite. This is currently my favourite song of 2015 - genius.

The twist towards the end of Face Of Another is pure Exile Stones, raw harmonies with a country twang.

You can cry in the heart of the morning
You can cry 'til your eyes are blue
You can cry in the middle of nowhere, my dear
You can't stand tears not falling over you

The way Time Enough For Love develops and then flows beautifully is a joy, as is the dinky piano solo, while the guitar solo on The Painted Birds positively fizzles.

Meanwhile, in the narratives, Max has found a time-machine and travelled back in time to Camden in 1966; Pie, Mash and Liquor is a mash (pardon the pun) of Chas n Dave, Blur, Lovely Rita and Gorillaz.

Dr Cosmo's Tape Lab come up with eccentric ideas for songs and then use them as platforms to show off their outrageous musical talent; Storehouse Of Fools being a prime example with some superb electric guitar lifted straight from 1966.

If a love of the Small Faces influences the narration between songs, then it is also displayed on songs like Dr Chester's Pleasure; total power pop.

Meanwhile The Star's My Destination sets controls for outer space and in under 4-minutes it takes you on a trip you won't want to end, just float away, feel alright......

Joe Kane and Stu Kidd - the genius talent behind Dr Cosmo's Tape Lab

I love the raw soulful feel that Dr Cosmo's can conjure; there is a pureness that a lot of modern bands could never obtain due to over production and the use of too many programmed instruments - including drums. And also due to the fact they just aren't as talented as Kane and Kidd.

The Long Sleep soon leads into Space Dream and it doesn't get much more dreamy; the harmonies are lush and we flow to the closer and title track Beyond The Silver Sea.

Another day is gone
And you're still holding on
To a dream tomorrow just won't bring

Beyond the silver sea
Dreams don't come for free
Don't it take much time
For your dreams to fall in line
It might cost you half your mind
We can try to find
Things we want to be
Beyond the silver sea (be yourself through everything)