Monday 25 May 2020

45 45's Part 2 (11-18)

Part 2 of 45 45's packs a lot in, so much so that I only get through 8, rather than 10.

I reminisce about managing a band, funding and releasing a 7-inch, discovering 2nd hand copies of versions of favourite songs I didn't know existed, old record shops, getting a record signed, numbered and coloured vinyl and helping to form a record label and the first release.

Young Folks - Peter, Bjorn and John
Easy Boys - Sonny Marvello
Come Together (Farley mix) - Primal Scream
Nothing But A Heartache - The Flirtations
Can't Get Out Of Bed - The Charlatans
Slight Return - The Bluetones
Free Again - Teenage Fanclub
The Ballad Of The Nearly Man - Mark W Georgsson feat. Katie McArthur

Saturday 23 May 2020

45 45's - Part 1 (1-10)

With a little more time on my hands I decided to try my first vlog.

I had the idea of writing a blog called 45 45's, about memories of 45 7-inch records I own, ahead of turning 45 next year. Something to work away at over the months ahead.

I then decided to go for a vlog. I really enjoy 10-15 minute vlogs on YouTube, so here is my first. There will be 3 more parts to the 45 45's series and then I'll consider others.

Part 1 focuses on 10 7-inch records including; the first 7-inch records I had bought for me, two of the first 7-inches I bought with my own money, records bought on the strength of the sleeves, entrepreneurial record buying and exchanging to get an original copy of Everything Flows, a record I bonded over with my sister and one that I remember buying the day it came out.

Let me know if you enjoy the vlog which you can watch by clicking on the section at the start. The records featured are;

Letter From America - The Proclaimers
Got My Mind Set On You - George Harrison
Born of Frustration - James
Movin' On Up - Primal Scream
Babe Come Down - Sammy
Superhero - Smudge
Puss/Oh The Guilt - Jesus Lizard/Nirvana
Everything Flows - Teenage Fanclub
Mrs Robinson - The Lemonheads
Kylie's Got A Crush On Us - BMX Bandits

Friday 15 May 2020

Head On

Cover version of the month #54

David Hasselhoff covers Jesus and Mary Chain's Head On

Yes you read that correctly! I still sometimes wonder if I dreamt that last Autumn, Pitchfork, The Quietus and the NME reported that the Hoff had covered one of my favourite Mary Chain songs.

I thought I would check if it was all a dream for this months cover version of the month. Don't worry, I'll spend most of the blog talking about the original! This must be a strong candidate for one of the weirdest covers of a Scottish band/artist of all-time.

Head On was released as a single back in 1989, taken from the bands Automatic album (their 3rd) released the same year. In an era of multi-formatting to help chart position, Head On was released on 7 different formats, including 4 7-inch singles one week after the other with one coming with a cardboard box to house the set.

Head On is classic Mary Chain guitar pop with influences from the fuzzed up 50's style guitar riff through to the 80's drum machine and synth bass that drive and underpin the song. The song drips with Mary Chain cool; references to death, the stars and the sky, there is a guitar solo, breakdown, a build up, hey yay ay ays and yeah yeah yeahs. The song could easily last well under 3-minutes, but Jesus and Mary Chain realise they are the zone and take it on to over 4-minutes.

 There is a pre chorus and chorus that flow superbly.

And the way I feel tonight
I could die and I wouldn't mind
And there's something going on inside

Makes you wanna fell, makes you wanna try
Makes you wanna blow the stars from the sky
I can't stand up, I can't cool down
I can't get my head off the ground

In the video William Reid wears a Love t-shirt and Jim Reid clings to his mic stand as they mime to the song - looking super cool. Jesus and Mary Chain released many impeccable singles through their career and Head On is one of their best, certainly one of my favourites.

On to the Hoff, a guy I used to watch on Baywatch back in the 80's and early 90's when the Mary Chain were ripping it up. OK I primarily watched Yasmine Bleeth, Erika Eleniak and Pamela Anderson!

Hasselhoff doesn't stray too far from the original, adding a few handclaps. His voice struggles with it and to be honest I can't bring myself to listen to the full 4-minutes, once was enough. I kind of just wanted to check if I had dreamt this all up!

So you might want to just dip your toe in to check this really happened - David Hasselhoff covered Jesus and Mary Chain! He genuinely seems to love the song and there is also a live version on YouTube you can check HERE

Previous covers of the month
13. Hurt

Monday 11 May 2020

Sibling lockdown mixtapes volume 6

Week 6 of the siblings 10-song mixtape weekly challenge during the lockdown.

My sister Carla has some truly stunning songs, many of which I hadn't heard before. A fantastic playlist.

Meanwhile my brother Ross reminds me how good a songwriter Paul Heaton is before taking on us on a fantastic journey through incredible songwriters in just 10 songs - ending with Prince, Bowie and Stevie Wonder! What a song to end on!

Lastly, I'm pretty pleased with what I pack in - soul, indie, electronic pop and lastly some truly sublime electro  courtesy of Underworld and Orbital.


w/c 04/05/20


Mr Lee - The Bobbettes, Slow Fizz - The Sapphires, Ain't Got No Home - Clarence 'Frogman' Henry, Bop-Ting-A-Ling - LaVern Baker, I'd Rather Be An Old Man's Sweetheart - Candi Staton
, Don't Say Nothin' (Bad About My Baby) - The Cookies, Stick Up - Honey Cone, Leave It All Behind - The Fuzz, Sweet Inspiration - The Sweet Inspirations, I Could Have Danced All Night - Petula Clark

Good As Gold (Stupid As Mud) - The Beautiful South, Walls Come Tumbling Down - The Style Council, The Seeker - The Who, I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down - Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Hotel Yorba - The White Stripes, Electric Love - He's My Brother She's My Sister, World Where You Live - Crowded House, Money Don't Matter 2 Night - Prince, Young Americans - David Bowie, I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever) - Stevie Wonder

'T' Plays It Cool - Marvin Gaye, Les Fleurs - Minnie Riperton, Green Onions - Booker T and the MG's, Soul Fly PT. 1 - Amp Fiddler, Big Bird - Eddie Floyd, A Girl Like You - Edwyn Collins, The Village - New Order, Is This Music? - Teenage Fanclub, Rez - Underworld, Belfast - Orbital

Wednesday 6 May 2020

Lockdown interview - Olive Grove Records

Ahead of a 2-hour live stream from the Olive Grove Records Facebook page tomorrow (7th May) at 7.30pm I thought I would ping label leader Lloyd an email to see how he was getting on.

There has been rather a lot going on in the Olive Grove world, a label benefitting from the monthly Bandcamp days where the site waives its fees; June 5th and July 3rd are the next dates where this is due to happen. This monthly focus is really helping labels and artists in these unprecedented times and music fans are being incredibly supportive.

Be sure to check out Olive Grove via their bandcamp site and also via their website and don't forget to tune in on Facebook on Thursday.

Firstly, how are you doing?

Getting by thanks. Although I think I might have exhausted every conceivable walk from my house.

And how is the label and your roster doing? You seem to have had a busy few weeks with a crowdfunding campaign for one of your artists, the bandcamp sales and Randolph's Leap being prolific ...

We all seem to be doing OK, I've tried to check in with everyone at some point, just to see how they're doing. I'm regularly whatsapping Carla (J Easton), David (Broken Chanter) and Adam (Randolph's Leap). Plus I was on a Zoom call with all of the Leapers a week or so ago, which reminded me how much I miss hanging out with them all.

As you've already alluded to, Pete from Randolph's Leap had the massive misfortune of losing his flat to a fire a few weeks after lockdown kicked in. I can't imagine what it must be like going through that at the best of times, but having it happen during a worldwide pandemic was just horrendous. Thankfully though, both him and his pet hedgehog escaped safely and he had some great friends who took him in and looked after him. Thanks to a crowdfunder organised by a few of us, we managed to raise over £11k for him. Considering we'd hoped to raise a couple of hundred quid, we were all really blown away by the number of people who wanted to help him out. He's a lovely, lovely man, so it was great to see all the message of support. Plus there were loads of folk there to help him with things like clothes and lending him a bike. He seems to be getting back to a form of stability, he's got a flat of his own to stay in. Plus Frida the hedgehog doesn't seem to be traumatised by the whole experience.

As for Adam from Randolph's Leap, that man never fails to amaze me. What with writing and recording not one, but two albums in lockdown, coupled with the numerous brilliant videos he's come up with, it's been brilliant to see just how creative he can be. Plus the reaction he's received has been ace too, he's definitely bee a breath of fresh air over the past couple of weeks. On top of all the stuff he's been sharing publicly, there's also a new full band Randolph's Leap album which has just been finished off. It sounds incredible, it really captures the joy that the band exude. When it might see the light of day is another matter, but when it does arrive into the world, your ears are gonna love it.

Talking of people who are creatively brilliant, Carla J Easton has been doing some amazing things too. The video for her new single Get Lost was all filmed in her flat, but it feels like it was done in a proper big studio. There's also a session track that she's recorded for the Scotsman, which features four of her, which has to be seen to be believed! We are just about to order vinyl for her new album too. We are looking at getting something really pretty made up for it, which I'm quite excited about.

Pre-order Get Lost HERE

One of the main reasons we are going to be able to do something that bit more special is down to the two days in which Bandcamp waived their fees. The support we received from them has really helped, I think a lot of people are wanting to make sure that wee labels and (DIY/independent) artists can keep going and it's really helped to inspire me to want to keep doing this. So for any of you who bought anything from us recently, thank you, it means the world to me.

How is Olive Grove adapting?

I'm not sure if we are adapting, for me I am working from home and doing homeschooling at the same time, so the label hasn't always been at the forefront of my mind. I guess I am being more reactive to the creativity of others, which has actually been really good for me personally. I don't think like I;be had to drive anything, folk have just been getting on with it and I've been trying to help out when I can. I guess the big difference at the moment, is that it feels like a much more level playing field. It's been great to see everyone wanting to support each other too.

You celebrate your tenth anniversary as a label this year. I guess your plans might have to change?

Yeah we had a few ideas up our sleeves, but that's all been put on hold for now. Doing a live show to celebrate in any capacity seems unlikely, plus being able to release something out of the ordinary will be tough if folk can't get to a studio to record. So if anyone has any suggestions I'd love to hear them :-)

Can you tell us about any release plans for this year?

We have Carla's new single, Get Lost coming at the end of May, with an album to follow at the end of August. We are also going to be rereleasing Woodenbox's first album, the Home and the Wildhunt on vinyl in July. After that I am not sure, if I can shift a few more copies of the Archipelago EP's, then I hope to reinvest that back in doing something else.

And after 10-years, what does the future hold? You seem as passionate and as driven as ever.

I honestly don't know. I don't have as much time to do it as I used to, but I now have loads of great folk on board to help me out. I also have a much better group of peers around me now. Having folk like Neil at Scottish Fiction and Ian at LNG has been great. Having someone who can act as a sounding board, or who just understands what you're going through is invaluable.

Sunday 3 May 2020

Sibling lockdown mixtapes volume 5

Welcome to the volume 6 of the siblings 10-song mixtape lockdown challenge.

This week I included some songs I recently discovered via a Le Beat Bespoke live DJ session, including a stormer by Shocking Blue that I've been playing a lot. I tried to go for a mixtape that would go down well in McChuills, one of my favourite bars in Glasgow. I long to go back in there for a night out and to see old Nick behind the bar or playing some tunes.

My brother really mixes it up and the opening double of Beyonce going into the Manics works surprisingly well. I loved Sugar's Copper Blue album, so it was great to see them featured. Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Elastic sit with Pete Frampton and Elvis. And it works!

This is my sisters strongest playlist yet, or at least it is my favourite. The opening x-rated soul jam is outrageous, The Ikettes song is my song of the week, the Doris Troy and Cookies versions of songs I know are stunning and the closing northern soul romp of I Can Feel Your Love is a blast.


w/c 27/04

The Trip - Kim Fowley, Wait A Million Years - The Grass Roots, I Can Only Give You Everything - Them, You're Gonna Miss Me - The 13th Floor Elevators, Send Me A Postcard - Shocking Blue, Have Love Will Travel - The Sonics, Louie Louie - The Kingsmen, I'm Waiting For The Man - The Velvet Underground, How Does It Feel To Feel? - The Creation, All Along The Watchtower - Jimi Hendrix

Love On Top - Beyonce, La Tristesse Durera (Scream to a Sigh) - Manic St Preachers, Line Up - Elastica, If I Can't Change Your Mind - Sugar, Maps - Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Buddy Holly - Weezer, Steve McQueen - Sheryl Crow, Show Me The Way - Peter Frampton, Do Right Woman, Do Right Man - Aretha Franklin, If I Can Dream - Elvis Presley


Think Twice (Version X) - Jackie Wilson and LaVern Baker, Bye Bye Baby - Mary Wells, It's Been So Long - The Ikettes, Blackmail - Candi Staton, The Boy from New York City - The Ad Libs, Just One Look - Doris Troy, B-A-B-Y - Carla Thomas, Don't Ever Leave Me - Connie Francis, I'm Into Something Good - The Cookies, Heart - Petula Clark, I Can Feel Your Love - Felice Taylor

LNFG presents Isolation Sessions

Including interviews with LNFG's Ian Smith and photographer Brian Sweeney.

Last Night From Glasgow quickly came up with an idea to adapt to lockdown living and in typical LNFG fashion, it grew arms and legs. Isolation Sessions was born, label artists covering their label mates through home recording and in-house photographer Brian Sweeney taking isolation portraits of artists and label members.

A double vinyl album will feature cover versions of LNFG songs from: Broken Chanter, Gracious Losers, Sister John, Cloth, Close Lobsters, Annie Booth, Lola In Slacks, L-space, Nicol and Elliott, Zoe Bestel, Medicine Men, Deer Leader, Bis, Slime City, The Martial Arts, The Muldoons, Life Model, Mt.Doubt, Carla J Easton, Vulture Party and Andre Salvador, Lemon Drink.

I'm a big fan of Stephen Solo who has released 3 stunning albums through LNFG, so although Stephen was unable to contribute, I was delighted to discover that 3 of his songs had been chosen.

Amanda from Sister John explained why her band had chosen to cover Stephen;

I've always loved Stephen Solo's writing and when the chance to do a cover came up, he was the first to spring to mind. The emotional depth and melodic movements of Secrets made it a stand out for me. I saw that we could approach it in a way that hopefully allows a slightly different reading. 

The list of artists shows the quality and diversity of LNFG's roster; artists, members and the general public have thrown their support behind the idea and the album is well on its way to becoming LNFG's biggest seller.

All proceeds from album sales will be distributed to LNFG partner venues and record stores. The first donations have already been made.

Last Night From Glasgow has come a very long way since forming back in early 2016. I am proud to have played in a part in helping to form the label. These days I'm a member and fan with Ian Smith leading the label with help from an excellent team of directors, all of whom give their time for free.

Ian's passion, dedication, entrepreneurial and community spirit has ensured exciting and incredible development. The label is getting stronger every year and just look again at that roster! The label is now home to Bis, Close Lobsters and Starless, as well young guns Cloth, Mt. Doubt and Lola In Slacks.

Sophie from Lemon Drink
Photograph by Brian Sweeney

Also going on tandem with Last Night From Glasgow is the recently announced Past Night From Glasgow which will take much loved, occasionally maligned and some outright ignored classic albums from our past and repackage, remaster and reissue these with new liner notes, occasional bonus tracks and all the love and respect they deserve.

The first release will be Sisters by The Bluebells with analogue masters being tracked down and plans are afoot to remaster at Abbey Road before a release - originally scheduled for later in 2020.

In addition, Komponist (LNFGK) is an imprint of the label focusing on compositional instrumental music, be it Jazz, Neoclassical, Electronica or Heavy Drone.

The label also has the Hive imprint, designed as an initiative for artists, by artists. It provides a self contained toolkit allowing them to utilise the resources of an existing label to publish, release and promote their own catalogue.


Is it really only 4-years since the label formed?!

Ian very kindly answered a few questions on the label and the Isolation Sessions project which I personally think will stand as an important musical and visual document of these unprecedented times we live in. I also caught up with photographer Brian Sweeney who has been working with the label from the start.

You can order the double vinyl LP and CD from the Last Night From Glasgow Shop.

LNFG boss Ian Smith with wife Julia and son Levon at LNFG HQ
Photograph by Brian Sweeney

Firstly, how are you Ian? How are you adapting to lockdown life?

I am fine, there is nothing else for it. I'd rather not have the worst hay fever I've ever had right now but them's the breaks. Working from home isn't really a challenge for me, I've always preferred it. I find Monday - Friday flys by, there's still some kind of novelty factor to the whole process. Weekends are a pain in the arse thought - not being able to go for a pint or visit friends or attend gigs.

The label started to adapt quickly and the Isolation Sessions project was born. Can you tell us how it started and how it snowballed?

It's what we do. I never cease to be amazed by folks who look for reasons to avoid work, I've always looked for work. We are always looking for ways we can make things just a little better. Ways that we can improve things for our own artists but the industry at large.

The scene is full of self serving folks who had all gone to ground recently, they can see no advantage for them so they have disappeared. We, on the other hand, had seen an opportunity to put our best foot forward and show people what is possible. As for The Isolation Sessions, it was a group conversation - primarily between myself and three team members - although everyone was looking on.

Kenny was first out of the traps, suggesting a compilation album, just to keep us busy. I - as is my want - suggested we should make it for charity and support local venues. Gary quickly pointed out that original material would be a better bet, this quickly morphed into cover versions recorded in isolation and then Tim threw the icing on the cake by naming it the Isolation Sessions.. The conversation started at about 15.10 on 18/03. By 15.30 I had already invited Sister John, Medicine Men, Cloth, Mt. Doubt, Broken Chanter and Bis to participate. By 16.30 we had pretty much the entire roster signed up, by 17.00 it was live in the shop and by the following day it had already raised £1,000.

Many LNFG members have commented on the quality of the home recordings. What apps were artists using to record on?

I actually don't have much information on that - I'm guessing Logic and Garage Band will be to the foreground. Lots of the bands have roped in isolation producers to help. Chris Smith from Life Model has mixed about a third of the album and Paul McGeechan is currently mastering the whole thing. It's now a Double Album with extensive and detailed liner notes and art.

CLICK HERE - to listen to The Muldoons take on Stephen Solo's No Pill For What I Got

And Brian Sweeney has been taking lockdown pictures of label artists and members. How important has Brian been to the label? Could we see an exhibition once we get through this?

Brian is a force of nature. I think we have a symbiotic relationship. There is no doubt that his work has graced many sleeves. There is equally no doubt that his work on the Isolation Sessions Portraits might be the best thing he has done for us and it's certainly the best thing we have done for him.

The process of heading into the community and bringing just a little social interaction into the lives of our members and artists has been invaluable. The fact we can keep him working I think, for him, has been a life saver. The body of work that has been produced is staggering and certainly merits an exhibition in the future. That goes without saying.

LNFG is celebrating its 4th birthday, unfortunately without the planned party. Can you tell us 4 of your highlights from those years? Just how far has the label come?

How far have we come? Honestly - we are knocking on the door of being a sizeable national (UK) label. We are now a publishing house, we have a spectacular roster, worldwide distribution, in house plugging, (soon to be) international press support, partnerships with studios, engineers and mastering engineers. We are the complete package. Our output would rival many major labels, this year through LNFG, Hive, Komponist and PNFG we will manufacture 11 or 12 vinyl albums. That's astonishing, there isn't a label in Scotland who could dream of that level of output. We are under budget, generating surpluses and artists are making some money. It was always a good idea, now we are really starting to see its potential.

Highlights? I dunno - so many different highlights. Personally and emotionally speaking for me. Sweeney's Marxist speech at the first ever LNFG event was special. Sci-Fi Steve shouting "We are Bis from (last night from) Glasgow, Scotland" was a joyous moment. So many of my favourite moments centre on Sister John, but them singing Nick Lowe's I Love My Label at the 2019 Birthday Bash - well that's about the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me/us.

Annie Booth and Leo Bargery dueting on The Line was phenomenally moving. I could pick a hundred, I love everything we have done, I love all our releases. I adore the staff I work with and the members who support us. Everything could be a highlight.

If I had to pick one event that will live long in the memory - well Stephen Watt's book launch - goodness me, if you were there, you will never forget it! If you gave me a second, then dicking about in Wakefield with Sister John, Cloth, Bis and Broken Chanter who were all down playing Long Division. That was a joy, like travelling abroad to support your team in Europe.

Thanks to Ian for his time and commitment to music and the arts.

I also caught up with Brian Sweeney to get his take on The Isolation Sessions;

EF - How are you? How are you adapting to 'the new norm'?

Actually been just as busy, but i suppose that was brought on myself, i had packed schedule which evaporated in day one of lockdown, again a lot of planning and prepping had gone into those shoots, i've always been pretty good at not panicking, when actually i should have been shitting myself, when i look back now.

EF - You're taking portraits to accompany The Isolation Sessions album. What prompted the idea?

A couple of things happened on day one which prompted me into action, my dad went into isolation recently having just bought a new camera for his bird watching hobby, he didn’t have a clue how to use itch learned photography like me through film and manual cameras, so i got him his supplies, picked up the camera and went for a wander into the woods near me with my dog Albion and started shooting birds id seen on previous walks, that became a daily obsession,something i've never done before as i rarely use anything longer than a 75mm lens”

After about day 3 i noticed there was less traffic noises could hear and see more nature, that's when the portrait idea came in on the walks realised that the nature had changed around me as people went indoors to isolated thought wouldn’t it be good to document nature during these times and at the same time document people who had purposely taken themselves into isolations thought that LNFG group would be the best to shoot as the whole manifesto of the label was gigging and socialising, i thought wouldn’t it be good for people on the label to meet the others be it online and hopefully keep the community moving and talking, meeting new folk and putting names to faces..i studied at a documentary photography based school in london,so curiosity was ingrained into me…id never even net a lot of these people.

i took the idea to ian and he said “go for it, we can cover expenses”

How is it going? What has the response been like?

the response was pretty slowly think people were genuinely concerned about doing it, but after a wee bit of perseverance the floodgates opened,its been amazing, the rules were simple i had to be more than 2.5 metres away from subjects think when people saw this was doable and safe and looked coolly inbox went mental,its been an absolute joy to meet everyone, to talk to everyone,just like me, they need something to break the monotony of the day, its just growing and growing,we've nearly hit 100 members and artists now which is pretty amazing as i thought 60 would be incredible….i've another 9 booked in for next week’s planning for monday.

You've been involved with LNFG from the very start through its 4-year existence. How have you seen it develop?

didn’t think it would last longer than 2 years, it was such a beautiful idea and concept i dint think it would work in todays climate.,but its been beautiful, just gets better and better and is starting to feel like a gang now, the fact that is covers all genres is brilliant too, best label i've ever worked with.And the delegation of management has meant all artists are looked after…beautiful people beautiful music

Find out more about Last Night From Glasgow and the Isolation Sessions