Friday 24 February 2017

Everything Flows Podcast 11

February 2017 Podcast

I wanted to restart my podcasts on a semi-regular basis with a guest joining me as I thoroughly enjoyed the last one with Duglas T Stewart from BMX Bandits. Life has been moving pretty quickly, so I thought I would record a quick one while choked with the cold.

There is a lot coming up in Glasgow - the 6 Music Festival, the new TRNSMT Festival on Glasgow Green and loads of shows at Kelvingrove Bandstand.

So this podcast allows me to get going again, it is short and sweet; 5-songs in 26-minutes - enjoy.

Dreaming Of Me - Depeche Mode
April Skies - Jesus and Mary Chain
I Wasn't Made For These Times - Beach Boys
Song To The Embers (Miaoux Miaoux remix) - Zoey Van Goey
The Warmth Of The Sun - Lightships

Previous Everything Flows Podcasts

Podcast #1 featuring Teenage Fanclub, David Bowie, Dr Cosmos Tape Lab, Brian Wilson, Dennis Wilson, JR Green, The Undertones

Podcast #2 featuring The Troggs, Happy Meals, Rose McDowall, The Frank Popp Ensemble, Fun Boy Three, Jo Mango and The Pictish Trail, Miaoux Miaoux, Yo La Tengo

Podcast #3 featuring Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth, Marlena Shaw, Natalie Prass, November Lights, Molly Nilsson

Podcast #4 featuring The Chemical Brothers with Beck, The Charlatans (Brian Jonestown Massacre mix), BMX Bandits, Edwyn Collins, The Parliaments, K-Klass, White

Podcast #5 -Tim Peaks Electric Fields line-up featuring The Charlatans, Yucatan, Blueprint Blue, Documents, TeenCanteen, Horsebeach, Hot Vestry, Riding the Low, Tim Burgess

Podcast #6 featuring JR Green, Hinds, The Groove, Doug Tuttle, Second Hand Marching Band, Emma Pollok, David Bowie, Lesley Gore

Podcast #7 featuring Catholic Action, Primal Scream, Super Furry Animals, The Supremes, George Carrow, Prophets, LCD Soundsystem

Podcast #8 featuring The Pooh Sticks, In Embrace, Another Sunny Day, The Pastels, Teleman, The Beach Boys, Stone Poneys, Sebadoh, The Vaselines

Podcast #9 featuring  Happy Meals, HONNE and Izzy Bizu, Broken By Rock, Belle and Sebastian, BMX Bandits, Twerps, Neil Young

Podcast #10 featuring Jonathan Richman, The Shangdi-Las, Tenniscoats, Jigsaw, Daniel Johnston, Todd Rundgren, Paul Williams, Rod McKuen

Thursday 23 February 2017

10 years of Everything Flows - Bands

To celebrate 10-years of Everything Flows Glasgow I will be publishing a series of blogs - 10 bands, 10 albums, 10 songs, 10 shows....

We'll start with 10 bands on the DIY/unsigned scene that I fell for; read on for memories, videos and music. A further blog will follow in the near future with links to loads of old blogs on DIY bands on the scene over the last 10-years.

1. Futuristic Retro Champions

Who are/were they?
My sister Carla's (keys, synths and vocals) first band with Edinburgh Art School buddies Sita (vocals), Harry (guitar, vocals, effects and beats) and Cecilia (Ceal) (bass and vocals) in their final line-up. Additional help from Dan on trumpet, Luke on bass (before Ceal joined) and Adam on shouty vocals at first.
What do/did they sound like?
I have a clipping of Malcolm Jack writing in The Metro describing them as a bunch of kids who had stumbled across Fisher Price instruments whilst overdosing on Sunny D - or words to that effect. Most of the songs were recorded in bedrooms/living rooms in Edinburgh/Glasgow. It was MySpace/laptop/DIY fun. The tender Isn't It Lovely remains a favourite, while the riotous pop of Jenna still brings a smile to my face.
Why did I fall for them?
Infectious pop music that I found myself singing after 1 or 2 listens.
What do I remember?
Packed shows at 13th Note, Captain's Rest, The Wee Red Bar, self releasing EP's, an incredible show at Mono with Martin Creed and Samba Ya Bamba and my all-time favourite show was at the Hidden Lane Festival in front of La Chunky in glorious sunshine.

In 2017
Carla leads TeenCanteen and Sita plays bass. Carla also has her Ette solo/collaborative project - both are doing well after albums released in 2016. TeenCanteen have an EP out in April and Carla is also going to to the prestigious Banff Arts Centre in Canada on a songwriting workshop. Ceal has guested with Errors, Adam makes videos and the rest are all doing other things.

2. Sonny Marvello

Who are/were they? 
A 5-piece from Castlemilk fronted by Stephen Farrell with Mick Caldwell on lead guitar, Craig Douglas on bass, Mike Walker on keys and Michael Bryans on drums.

What do/did they sound like? 
Very influenced by The Beatles with a nod to Blur, Bowie and Queen. Lots of classics. Superb players.

Why did I fall for them?
I stumbled across them at a charity aftershow in Sloans ballroom. They looked amazing in old blazers, suits, hats....they romped through songs like Easy Girls, My Lover and played a blistering song called We're All Cruel that seemed to good to be true with a closing section that stopped me in my tracks. I asked their bass player Craig their name and if they had a manager. Then woke up and I could't remember their name! Fast forward a few months and I found them again and managed them through; selling out Stereo, putting out a 7-inch, organising our own festival at a youth hostel, being ahead of the game and crowdfunding through the 100 club, lots of Sailor Jerry's and some incredible songs. Great, great people and I still play football with Craig and Mike every Wednesday. Incredibly talented musicians and Stephen still has songs and melodies pouring out of him.

What do I remember?
Everything - it was a rollercoaster ride. They'd been f**ked about a bit and I remember Stephen going up to a certain Glaswegian producer and telling him he was a c**t to his face. This was on the second time I had met Stephen! I thought this was great - punk. Prior to meeting them they had run secret shows, been to NYC and were generally playing to no-ones rules but their own. The 100 club mini-album was a highlight, pulling that off along with organising our own festival on the banks of Loch Lomond was quite a feat. They were not interested in any scenes, they just wanted to create music. Photo shoots, videos, a crazy night at Pin Ups.....just great, great times.

In 2017
Sonny Marvello are over, they brought out an incredible album under the guise of Flash Talk and then changed back. Sparks To Fire is a gem, recorded with the producer who is now gaining recognition under the guise of KVASIR. Ultimate Toppers is a collection of demos and the 100 club album is an acoustic album recorded in a day that contains the beautiful Fire Went Out. Stephen now records under the guise of Stephen solo and released an incredible album Pii via Last Night From Glasgow in 2016 on a USB credit card that he recorded on an iPhone! Craig is beginning to demo some recordings and I hope Mick returns to playing guitar as he remains the best guitarist I have seen in Glasgow.

3. Miaoux Miaoux

Who are/were they?
Producer, songwriter Julian Corrie is Miaoux Miaoux. Julian played solo for a number of years before adding a couple of friends to his live line-up.

What do/did they sound like?
Glorious, inventive electronic pop.

Why did I fall for them?
See above! I caught posters around town for the Blooms EP and show at the 13th Note. I attended and was blown away. Julian's has an incredible ability to take the listener on a journey, to allow him and them to get lost in riffs, grooves and beats. Snow from the aforementioned EP has such a beautiful, dreamy and flowing guitar riff, I loved to watch Julian play this live. The early live shows would see Julian bound between keyboards, synths and all kinds of gadgets with his plectrum in his mouth, sing like no-one else I had seen before or since in Glasgow - like a choir boy in rave - and then go all My Bloody Valentine on guitar. It was special.

What do I remember?
I remember of picking Julian up from Glasgow Airport and driving like a maniac to get to the Wickerman Festival. I think he had been recording with friends in Sweden and his flight was late and some of his equipment hadn't turned up! A few phone calls to friends at Wickerman ensured he had enough to perform. We literally arrived at the festival and Julian was on in 10-minutes. Shortly after that he played a rave in a backstage caravan for Detour. I got rather excited and sprayed beer and you can hear Julian shout my name in the video - sorry Julian!

And I remember just feeling kind of blessed to be close to such a talent and to try and help him. Julian had a little studio in the Hidden Lane at the time and I was working at Charing Cross, so I would pop by and listen to what he had been up to. He had a white board up with the working album title Arcs of Brilliance (which would go on to be Light of the North) and song titles. He played me the bones of Stop The Clocks, this gentle acoustic riff and hushed vocals. I sat amazed as it morphed into huge pulsating riffs, beats and white noise. It is my favourite Miaoux Miaoux song - simply stunning.

In 2017
Miaoux Miaoux has released 2 albums via Chemikal Underground and remixed the likes of Chvrches, Belle and Sebastian and Arab Strap. Could be some interesting news coming from him in the near future.

4. Nevada Base

Who are/were they?
Albert, Calum, Gus, Andy and James

What do/did they sound like?
Like 4 guys from Glasgow stumbling into a New York loft apartment party hosted by James Murphy and picking up his instruments to see what they could create.

Why did I fall for them?
They were different. Albert (singer and guitar) was super cool and had a huge afro, their songs were mature beyond the bands tender years. People danced! I mean really danced. I put them on at 13th Note before I managed them and they absolutely blew me (and everyone else) away. Free CD's were handed out at shows, they had a clear vision of what they wanted to do.

What do I remember?
Dancing and getting lost in the music. A Tenement Trail show in a basement bar was a real highlight when everything all seemed to just come together at once. A little frustration at not getting a string of singles/EP's or an album or two out. Things just didn't work out as I hoped or planned in that sense - I'm sure the band would say the same. But great memories, a Tenement Trail show in a basement bar was a real highlight - again....people danced.

In 2017
Watch this space - likely to be announcing a new band at some point.

5. Vigo Thieves

Who are/were they?
Stevie (vocals and guitar), Barry (guitar), Gordon (bass), Gorman (keys), Al (drums) and joined by Chris (sax) on various occasions

What do/did they sound like?
Kids from Wishaw who discovered Simple Minds Greatest Hits, a bit of Springsteen and The Killers debut album all at once. Big on ambition, songs, choruses and attitude. They didn't just want to dream about it, they wanted the taste, feel and sensation.

Why did I fall for them?
They had something, they really had something, they worked their socks off, were good fun and had a pile of great songs. Songs like Forever and Believe should have been huge all across the land. Stevie Jukes was charming, positive and aiming for the stars. There wasn't anyone else like them and they took a whole heap of people along for the ride. Live shows became a celebration and a giant sing song.

I fell so hard that I started co-managing the band with Stevie and had a great time dreaming and scheming with him and the band. And anyone would fall for Gordon Phipps if they spent a night out with him. What a gem of a guy.

What do I remember?
Glowsticks at Sleazys, selling out 2-nights at Tut's, T in the Park, London, Jager Bombs, the mess of Gorman's studio, the Arches, Wickerman, the ABC, supporting The View at the Academy, The Fratellis at the Barrowland....daily phone calls with Stevie, the EP's, promises of tattoo's if they got a was quite a ride. Good, good times and I really thought they were going to go all the way.

In 2017
Stevie and Al are doing really well as Saint PHNX and may well make the step that the Vigo's so narrowly failed to make. Vigo Thieves have released an album that you can check below and have confirmed a show at King Tut's on 23rd December. Tickets HERE

6. Ace City Racers

Who were/are they?
James Barker formerly of Juno! on vocals and guitar, with his friend and brother-in-law Mark on bass and a variety of drummers. Ace City Racers were all art pop.

What did/do they sound like?
They were/are very influenced by Modern Life Is Rubbish era Blur. They had some promise and asked me to help out. At the time I was managing a few bands and said that while I couldn't manage them I would help out. We sent some demos to Blur producer Stephen Street and to our amazement he said he would love to work with the band!

First single Waiting was produced by Stephen Street and released via Fred Perry. There were some cracking early shows but the momentum never really got going. Stephen Street isn't cheap!

Why did I fall for them?
I have known James for a while, so our friendship helped. The fact that he was so passionate and hard working was also infectious. James is a HUGE music fan and worked hard on songs and with contacts to try and get things going for the band. Mark is one of the most positive people I have ever met and someone I could totally imagine being an indie pop star. Like a lot of the bands I love and all the bands on here, it was the people as well as the music that I fell for.

What do I remember?
My close links with Ace City Racers were all over in a bit of a Blur (pardon the pun). They played some good shows, got some good press but (no offence to James or Mark) possibly peaked a little too early with the Stephen Street and Fred Perry single. So I remember how buzzed James was to be working with a real hero of is, how excited I was that Stephen Street might introduce them to people and how much effort James put into the band.

In 2017?
James is still in Ace City Racers and has a couple of little side projects on the go. I would never bet against James coming up with something incredible.

7. Seventeenth Century

Who are/were they?
Mark Brendan Farmer, Ryan Jospeh Burns, Andrew Arthur Truscott, Michael Wilson Truscott, Nicholas John Grant

What do/did they sound like?
Mark Brendan Farmer possessed a truly unique and powerful voice, the sight and sound of him in full flight was mesmerising to watch and listen to. He combined this with an outrageous haircut and also played violin with such ferocity that he would sometimes rip his bow to shreds.

Backed by friends that played trumpet, drums, bass and guitar (among other things), Seventeenth Century created a sound that was all their own. Mark's melodies were sometimes as unique as his voice and the band really did create a special sound and feeling when they were on top of their game.

Why did I fall for them?
I returned from travelling around the world in June 2008 and was walking down Sauchiehall Street when I hears this great song being played. Outside Marks and Spencers was group of young lads that looked like they were a real band/gang. It turned out to be a cover version of Beruit's Postcard's From Italy and upon making a donation and asking their name I found out that they were playing Bar Brel that very night. So my wife (fiance at the time) went along and immediately fell for them for all the reasons mentioned above. Turns out that they were all super nice guys as well.

What do I remember?
I followed Seventeenth Century very closely and caught them live on many occasions and in many settings; ranging from Rock Ness to many a basement bar in Glasgow. Many fellow bloggers and people associated with the music scene thought they had everything to take things forwards and get a record deal. I'm not really sure what happened, they seemed to fizzle out a little bit which was a real shame. Traffic (video above) is one of my favourite songs that a young Glasgow band have released.

In 2017
Ryan is still playing and releasing music, I bump into Mark now and again around town, but it seems that the band are over. Would love to hear Mark singing again.

8. Velveteen Saints

Who are/were they?
Tino (vocals and guitar), Sean (vocals and guitar), Mark (vocals and bass) and Michael (drums)

What do/did they sound like?
A punk pop Clash that each take 4 sugars in their tea. Super charged power melodies.

Why did I fall for them?
Songs, charm and beers. I was invited to their 2nd ever show and to motivate me I was promised 4 vouchers for beer! I get a lot of requests for reviews but I had never been motivated by beers! I wouldn't have gone if I didn't like the band though - I liked their name and the brilliant video they had shot for Rock N Roll Is Dead from their first ever show in the basement of Blackfriars that they charged a mere £1 for people to get into.  I also liked the friendly but confident tone of their short email.

I went to the show, had my beers, met the band and was blown away by their performance. They had a briliant set of punk pop tunes, full of hooks and melodies. Their on stage presence was excellent, they bounced off each other, they could play and they looked brilliant.

What do I remember?
I caught the band a few times and met bass player Mark. I thought they were going to get signed, they went on a long European tour with The View, supported The Charlatans at Delamere Forest and were doing all the right things in all the right places. They all shared a flat like The Beatles in Help!

In 2017
Sean is studying in Aberdeen, Tino and Michael are in The Bar Dogs who are doing quite well and Mark has released a solo album under the guise Mark W Georgsson which is leading the way for my album of 2017.

9. Dr Cosmos Tape Lab

Who are/were they?
Joe Kane and Stu Kidd; multi-instrumentalists, incredible musicians and very talented guys

What do/did they sound like?
Psychedelic pop kids. Capable of moments of sublime guitar pop, dreamy psychedelic genius and the odd barking mad fun track.

They described themselves as; 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 the ingredients to the sounds of Dr Cosmos Tape Lab.

Why did I fall for them?
Within a week 3 people I know had asked me if I had heard them. I loved their name and when I heard The Secret Of The Tibetean Grapefruit I knew that I would love the band. The second side of their debut album is incredible and it was recorded on a Tascam 4-track studio! Return to Nineteen Canteen is pure Macca.

The follow up album Beyond The Silver Sea was my album of the year in 2015. A concept album with spoken word tales of surreal escapism (to Camden in 1966 via a time machine) and thoughts in between some incredible songs. You can read my review of the album HERE and listen and buy HERE

What do I remember?
I never caught them live! They didn't play much but when they did I always seemed to be away with work or have something on I couldn't change!

So I remember the band for their vision, for being so different and for producing exceptional music.

In 2017
Joe and Stu remain incredibly active across the Glasgow and Scottish scene (and beyond). Joe plays in and produced the Ette album, has produced and mastered for a number of other acts and continues to write regularly. Stu has released his own album and is heavily involved with the forthcoming BMX Bandits album. Hopefully we'll get another Dr Como's album.

10. Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5

Who are/were they?
The Colonel John McMustard and his dancing friend David Blair (the Djancer) have let their imagination run wild to create an epic band that can include up to 20 members - conjuring up a euphoric and fun mix of music that is guaranteed to make you smile and dance.

Their vision, work ethic and exceptional live shows/performances have led to them being a must see act at festivals throughout the UK and beyond; selling out the ABC and the Barrowland in Glasgow.

What do/did they sound like?
In their own words (and I agree);

Imagine Primal Scream and Happy Mondays had children genetically fused with the DNA of Frank Zappa, Bob Marley, James Brown and Neil Diamond.

Our live shows have included crowdsailing in rubber dinghies, crowdsurfing on inflatable alligators, laughter yoga, hig-offs, dance-offs in a giant hay bird nest, singalongs about dancing in gay discos and being heartbroken by ginger people, line dancing and high 5ing to the beats.

Always expect the unexpected when The Dijon 5 come to town!

Why did I fall for them?
I missed them for ages. The and and their fans were everywhere at Wickerman a few years ago and I missed them! Everyone said they were the band of the weekend.

They brought out These Are Not The Drugs You Are Looking For and I was hooked. Cracking video, brilliant song, funny and making a point.

Then I finally saw them live and it all made sense. They are just full of the joys of life and have a lot of love to give and they

What do I remember?
Being blown away by the feel good atmosphere they created at Electric Fields last summer. And I saw them hanging around the VIP area at T in the Park just looking like they were taking it over. The Yellow Movement is growing all the time. Anyone that sees this band will become a fan. Lovely guys as well - I hope to be bringing back podcasts in the near future and David Blair is top of my list for an interview.

In 2017
They are playing all kinds of festivals this summer and I expect another big end of year show. Colourful, imaginative and innovative - great fun.

Monday 20 February 2017

Never Ending Mixtape Part 5

There's not a British artist in sight for this months additions to the Never Ending Mixtape.

A lot of the songs on the mixtape relate to my teenage years when I was discovering all kinds of music - new and old. I remember buying a 7-inch in the old Missing Records in Glasgow cause I liked the cover of a beat up old car and the song title Babe Come Down. I've loved this song for over half my life but really don't know much about the band Sammy at all. Slacker indie guitar that just sounded glorious to a young teenager living in a small town 20-miles from Glasgow that might just as well have been 1 million miles.

Sammy split up way in 1996, way before the era of the internet. So there's not much about them online at all. Just a few references to their debut album and Babe Come Down from other people who happened to discover them.

It was such a different time back then. For independent bands from America the thought and fact that teenage kids in Glasgow were somehow picking up one of their limited edition 7-inch singles must have been slightly mind blowing.

I never got round to buying the Sammy album, or maybe it never for around to arriving in Glasgow. But it is now on Spotify and their slacker style indie guitar music is filling me with teen spirit.

And on that note; I've added in Sappy by Nirvana, a song my friend Craig and I discovered on a bootleg Nirvana CD over 20-years ago following Kurt's sad passing. He would have been 50 today,

Check the Never Ending Playlist from the start here. All of this months songs are listed below.

Walk On The Wild Side - Lou Reed
Lou Reed was known for his experimentation; I like his experimentation with pop and melody more than his noisier material. This is perfect; the groove, flow, stories, hook, backing vocals...

Here Comes Your Man - Pixies
Like Lou Reed's stuff, it is the copier stuff of Pixies that I like. Some of my friends are Pixies daft (as is half of Glasgow) - this is by far my favourite song of theirs.

Start Choppin' - Dinosaur Jr
Ah J Mascis playing guitar - what a sound. I had some guitar lessons when I was 18 and I asked if I could be taught this riff!

Soul and Fire - Sebadoh
Lou Barlow aches over the sound of chiming guitars. One of the singles I fell for so much that I own on multiple formats.

If I Can't Change Your Mind - Sugar
Bob Mould knew that his Sugar project was a good one and that Copper Blue would open doors. It certainly opened mine. This is power guitar pop perfection.

Cut Your Hair - Pavement
Crazy, fun, clever and sounding great. Slacker indie pop perfection.

Cannonball - The Breeders
See above for crazy and fun. The groove and flow, rises and falls in this song, the hook.....ooohh so good that 2ManyDj's dropped it into their sets.

Sugar Kane - Sonic Youth
Blistering guitar - just superb to hear.

Babe Come Down - Sammy
See opening paragraphs. Slacker indie guitar pop heaven.

Web in Front - Archers of Loaf
More American guitar indie brilliance. The mid-90's was an amazing time for discovering music from across the ocean.

Sappy - Nirvana
Ah yeah - what could have been. The demo's that Kurt left behind and the amazing Unplugged performance....what would Nirvana have done next.....

Sunday 12 February 2017

Teenage Fanclub Have Lost It EP

I've been delving into the extensive and rewarding back catalogue of Teenage Fanclub regularly since the release of their Here album last Autumn and catching them in London and Glasgow. The albums are well known but there is a whole treasure trove of b-sides, rarities and cover versions to enjoy.

Released near the peak of Britpop mania in December 1995, the Teenage Fanclub Have Lost It EP was the sound of a band who knew exactly what they wanted to do.

They hadn't lost it; over the course of their 4 studio albums to date; A Catholic Education, Bandwagonesque, Thirteen and Grand Prix, Teenage Fanclub had found themselves. The EP was the sound of a band completely at ease, removing themselves from any trace of Britpop and they did this well ahead of the curve which arguably peaked at Knebworth. Teenage Fanclub were in their own zone and they were comfortable with it.

The 4-track EP contained a song from each of their 4 albums; Don't Look Back is Gerry Love at his romantic sunshine loving best. That laid back beautiful voice is so suited to the acoustic groove of this song, underpinned by great keys at times.

If I could find the words to say
Sunshines in your eyes
So brighten up my city skies

Everything Flows opens to what sounds like someone sparking a cigarette and given the laid back nature of the EP, it may have been a jazz one. The lead guitar is exquisite, Norman Blake's voice is purer than ever, noticeably so due to the lack of electric guitars and effects. The lead guitar combining with mouth organ for the closing instrumental is just gorgeous. The band then go off into a weird but funky jam.

Pics from the Have Lost It session- article link below

Gerry Love transforms his song Starsign, turning it into a country tinged beauty and highlighting what a brilliant song it is. Love's voice comes to the fore, one of the coolest voices in guitar, and there is a great moment when Norman harmonises on the line should this unknown force be shown

Do you know where you belong?
And is your starsign ever wrong?

The band then take off on another stoned jam for a minute or so. Maybe there is a lost album of this kind of stuff!

120-Mins from Thirteen closes the EP, McGinley's lyrics perhaps fitting with the theme and title of the EP. Raymond's voice sounds tired and weary, the songs structure and flow suit the stripped back version perfectly.

I don't wanna need a change
I don't wanna be arranged
I don't wanna be amazed
I just wanna see your
Face again
Be my friend

You can read about the recording session via these links; Page 1  Page 2    Page 3

Would TFC consider a Have Lost It Again EP?

Monday 6 February 2017

Introducing Parcels

WOW - sometimes you take a chance on something and that chance is repaid tenfold and more. Earlier on today I was flicking through the new releases on Spotify - not something I usually do. I liked the title of an EP and band so checked it out. I then spent the next 20 odd minutes pottering about my kitchen enjoying some fine crafted electronic pop music - checking the name of each song and vowing to write a blog on it.

So it was the Hideout EP by a band called Parcels that I discovered, released via exceptionally hip French label Kitsune. The band (all under 22) list their hometowns as Berlin and Byron Bay. 

Think Prince, Royksopp, Daft Punk, Chic and Erland Oye and you have an idea of the polished pop with wah wah guitar and crystal clear vocals. 

Myenemy opens proceedings; the synths and keys underpin a bass groove and the vocals have a soulful and uplifting feel to them.

Gamesofluck immediately draws you in; the groove just continues effortlessly from the opener they build it up, take it down, bring in the beats, throw in some funky guitar and generally make it all sound ridiculously easy to create brilliant pop music. Far too many artists have songs that last far too long these days, I'm still left wanting more after 5 minutes 48 seconds - a good sign.

The title track is pure bliss, the vocals are so clear and true, the melodies are thoughtful and hooky. The beat kicks in and just takes things higher - brilliant stuff.

Older is playful guitar pop, harmonies and a sense of urgency. Allaround has a real Royksopp Melody AM feel to it - lazy sublime vocals and melodies but they have the ability to increase the pace when required.

All in all this is a gorgeous EP. 

Saturday 4 February 2017


Cover version of the month #22
Heroes by Peter Gabriel

I've just finished watching Stranger Things, it is incredible. Funny, emotional, weird, strange, tense, scary, dramatic and it has fantastic characters. The soundtrack is pretty incredible too.

Gabriel recorded Heroes for his 2010 album Scratch My Back. This surprised me, it fits so perfectly with the scene in Stranger Things that I thought Gabriel must have had the script and recorded it specifically to fit. The arrangement is by a guy called John Metcalfe and his work with Gabriel on this track is more than enough to ensure I will be listening to the full album.

The tense, sparse and atmospheric opening leads to Gabriel singing tenderly but with real purpose. Strings and long held notes build then tension and feeling surrounding this exceptional version.

Without any of the drive of guitar and builds an enormous tension that bursts open.

Gabriel is immersed in the song and at 2-minutes 40 seconds the tension bursts in spectacular fashion with Gabriel's voice rising in time with the strings. It is truly mesmerising.

I, I can remember
Standing, by the wall
And the guns shot above our heads
And we kissed as though nothing could fall

The Scratch My Back album was conceived with the idea that Gabriel would cover an artists song in return for them covering one of his. The return album And I'll Scratch Yours was released in 2013.

If you're going to reinterpret something, then really do something. Nail your colours to the mast and say. 'this is different and it isn't everybody's cup of tea.'

Heroes is a Bowie masterpiece, the inspiration for the song, the lyrics, vocal, riff, feel and soul of the song is utter perfection. How the f**k do you even begin to consider covering it? Check this live version from Berlin in 2002 with Bowie commenting at the end I felt that.

Well Gabriel's cover is absolutely justified. Mat Snow wrote of Heroes in his Mojo review for the album that the songs underlying despair rises to the top.

Enjoy this remarkable interpretation of an incredible song. I've included the studio version and a live version in Verona with an orchestra - goosebumps!

Previous covers of the month

Friday 3 February 2017

Static Union live

Static Union are a very young band making a bit of noise around Glasgow just now; stemming from a buzz around live shows, demos and their debut single Turn Out The Lights.

They launched the single with a show at a packed out Audio in Glasgow. I couldn't make it by my friend Alan was raving about it afterwards so I asked him to write a guest blog. It sounds like a belter and I hope to see the band play in the near future.

Static Union live at Audio in Glasgow

Guest review by Alan Clarke

Static Union are Glasgow's next bright thing and making waves on a busy Friday night in the city. When a group of friends turn the corner to walk down Midland Street to see them at Audio, my initial thought is there's been an accident on the street as a crowd gathers the now derelict entrance to The Arches. It transpires the throng are waiting to get into the tight confines of Audio with the four members of the band about to take the stage in a few minutes. I previously saw this band supporting Holy Esque in December 2015 but clearly things are progressing in terms of interest in the band.

The band played a tight, melodic set at the St Luke's support gig over a year ago but the performance in Audio exhibited a maturity in both their stage craft and song-writing which has been honed through a busy year of gigging.

The gig tonight is to launch their debut single Turn Out The Lights and the band hit the stage to the excitable sell-out crowd and pull no punches with the new single as the set opener. The band cite their influences as The National, Arcade Fire, Radiohead, Joy Division and early U2. Their debut is a statement of intent with its incessant guitar hook somehow echoing Bodysnatchers from In Rainbows and bouncing off the vibe and clever time changes of early Artic Monkeys.

Frontman Sean McGarvey is clearly enjoying himself from the start as he reaches out to the crowd who are clearly well up for it tonight. Liam Adams is one half of a super-tight rhythm section, reminding me of Graham Coxon in the early Blur years (if Coxon had played the bass that its!) and with drummer Cameron Angus, the clever tempo change at the end of each chorus as heads bobbing involuntarily around the venue.

Lead guitarist James Harker bosses the other side of the stage, either throwing off funky guitar lines in the brilliant Accelerator or (in my own favourite song of the evening) showing his versatility in playing synth in the second song Last Of Our Kind. This song didn't feature at the St Luke's gig and is the first real sign to me of the evolving maturity of a still young band. If you love Joy Division/early New Order or remember the excitement when the Stone Roses fused electronica seamlessly with proper guitar pop, then you will dig The Last Of Our Kind. as they then launch into the driving groove of Accelerator to complete a very strong opening trio of songs, our wee gang at the back of the hall found ourselves doing that looking at each other, grinning and nodding things...we were thinking lets enjoy this moment as they could/should be massive.

Sean clearly enjoys being stage centre and when he grasps the mic stand to sing the intro of Distant Memory, a new dimension again not previously on show is revealed. He is clearly a proficient guitarist but as he wrings the mic, the guitar is sidelined and the drama of the song shines through. The influence of Matt Berlinger's stage craft in The National strikes me as he sings and I'd personally encourage him to do it more.

I allow myself a wry smile as the band break into You Wish. The poppies elements of some of the bands sound is replaced by a riff that recalls Robby Krueger at his best. It seems very apt to have the ghost of The Doors evoked when America is in the midst of a crisis not seen since Jim Morrison taunted the Nixon White House and the FBI in 1969. The band coast through their impeccable set and after closing with Losing Yourself, they give into the crowd's demands and return to the stage for a second joyous rendition other debut single.  Watch a live video HERE

Watch this space....