Tuesday 29 May 2018

T T T Technicolour Melodies

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

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

Read on for a review and interview.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 23 May 2018

Never Ending Mixtape Part 24

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 16 May 2018

Getting Away With It

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday 15 May 2018

Everything Flows TV - episode 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday 8 May 2018

SAY Award 2018 launch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep up to date with the nominees and listen to them via www.sayaward.com 

Tuesday 1 May 2018

What We Might Know

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don't let these dreams carry me away

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Never Ending Mixtape Part 23

More tunes for your ears.

We have newbies from The Go! Team and Alexis Taylor from Hot Chip, a classic from AC/DC, one from Dusty Springfield that I hadn't heard before and a cover of Billy Idol's Dancing With Myself by The Donna's to kick things off!

We then go on a trip with David Holmes, Liquid Liquid, LCD Soundsystem and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, before heading back to the 90's with classics from Massive Attack, the euphoric Yes by McAlmont and Butler and the Super Furries.

Liverpool offers us gems from Echo and the Bunnymen and Bill Ryder Jones, Shirley Bassey is included and some weirdly cool offerings from Jeffrey Lewis (from the brilliantly named album The Last Time I Did Acid I Went Insane and other favorites), Yamasuki Singers (a song my friend Ben stuck on a mixtape for me years ago), Steve Mason in his King Biscuit Time disguise and a track I discovered by an act called The Bongolian!

Throw in a few others including some northern gems and the stunning power pop of Open My Eyes by Nazz and you have another eclectic selection of tunes added to the Never Ending Mixtape.

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


The Only Thing New Is U Finding Out About It - The Go! Team
Oh Baby - Alexis Taylor
Touch Too Much - AC/DC
Haunted - Dusty Springfield
Dancing With Myself - The Donnas
Don't Die Just Yet - David Holmes
Cavern - Liquid Liquid
You Can't Hide/Shame On You (live) - LCD Soundsystem
Bellbottoms - The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Teardrop - Massive Attack
Yes - McAlmont and Butler
Play It Cool - Super Furry Animals
The Killing Moon - Echo and the Bunnymen
Are You My Love - Kelley Stoltz
I Can Only Give You Everything - Them
Jezahel - Shirley Bassey
You Can't Hide A Light With The Dark - Bill Ryder Jones
Good Fortune - PJ Harvey
The East River - Jeffrey Lewis
Yanamoto Kakapote - Yamasuki Singers
I Walk The Earth - King Biscuit Time
Googa Mama - The Bongolian
If I Could Only Be Sure - Nolan Porter
In Orbit - Joy Lovejoy
Tailor Made - The Lemon Twigs
Open My Eyes (alternate take) - Nazz